The Staples Center sets up shop for some of the best dunks and alley-oops you’ll see this year.
The league’s greatest athletes certainly haven’t taken any time off now that we’re in the second half of the season. After composing a list of the 100 best dunks from the first half of the season, it’s clear that with teams getting into midseason form and ready to make playoff runs that we’re going to see the best brought out in everybody.
Judging by the volume of quality dunks that have been unleashed over the past seven days, it seems we are nearing the point of the season where things are taken a little more seriously.
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10. Tobias Harris beats the buzzer to beat Oklahoma City
In ten seconds, two of the most improbable events occurred in the Oklahoma City Thunder’s loss to the Orlando Magic: One, the Magic won. Two, Kevin Durant missed a dagger jumper.
Brilliant ball movement by Orlando capped this one off. If Maurice Harkless goes up for the layup instead of passing it off to the driving Tobias Harris, he may have left time on the clock for the Thunder to get another shot. Instead, the two rising stars combine to finish off one of the most unlikeliest results in the NBA this season.
9. Steve Nash throws the long distance alley-oop to Wesley Johnson
Unless you saw him before he shaved, it’s hard to believe Steve Nash when he’s still making plays like this half-court alley-oop pass to Wesley Johnson.
This pass came in Nash’s first action since November 10. He finished the night with seven points on six shots and nine assists in a loss to the Timberwolves.
8. Gerald Henderson rises up against San Antonio
With the San Antonio Spurs becoming vulnerable due to various injuries that have allowed the likes of Jeff Ayres and Cory Joseph to receive significant minutes, it’s left room for opponents to take advantage of lineups with less talent.
In this case, it’s the Charlotte Bobcats backcourt duo of Kemba Walker and Gerald Henderson hooking up for a high-rising oop punctuated by Gerald’s powerful slam.
7. LeBron James grabs a stack of quarters off the backboard vs. Detroit
Just when you think LeBron exhausted the entertainment level of his patented one-handed alley-oop on the fast break, he goes and tops himself.
Midway through his team’s victory over Detroit, LeBron unleashed this high-flying alley-oop slam where he has to reach all the way back and over the square to thrown it down. It’s also another instance of when the Heat are at their best turning defense into instant offense. Greg Oden forces a turnover that leads to a full-court fast break without a single dribble being taken.
6. Quincy Acy destroys Marcin Gortat
Now that’s just not right. Quincy Acy didn’t have to do all of that.
Clearly, Marcin Gortat did not read up on the Acy scouting report, which basically reads as: “Offense: Dunks a lot.”
5. Paul George baptizes Glen Davis
Glen Davis has to learn at some point that there are a lot of athletes out there he won’t be able to sky with.
After getting dunked on by DeAndre Jordan earlier in the year in devastating fashion, Davis may have found another moment of his life to cut out of his highlight reel. He arrives far too late to block the dunk of Paul George, who has been known to throw down a ferocious slam or two in his heyday.
In case you forget, that heyday has been all of this season.
4. Blake Griffin goes Magic Johnson against Toronto
I don’t care if it may be a travel. People Blake Griffin’s size shouldn’t be capable of faking out a defender when running a one-man fast break that translates into another highlight slam. It also shouldn’t be possible to rise up so easily when a defender throws a forearm shiver across your chest.
This was only two of the 36 points Blake scored in a win over Toronto.
3. J.J. Hickson dunks over Andre Drummond
J.J. Hickson showcases his unbelievable athleticism with this thunderous dunk over Andre Drummond. Hickson didn’t need a single dribble to elevate as he took a Ty Lawson pass off a pick-and-roll, hop-stepped and dunked over Detroit’s towering center.
Hickson has been embarrassing a number of players this year, but none top his destruction of Marvin Williams from early in the season. He peaked too soon.
2. LeBron scrapes the ceiling against the Clippers
As if the alley-oop against Detroit didn’t put LeBron’s vertical leap on full display, this drive down the lane against the Los Angeles Clippers truly encapsulates the athleticism James displays on a nightly basis.
On a night full of dunks, LeBron stole the show with this tomahawk that featured James being able to look through the rim as he finishes up his performance for the evening.
1. Blake Griffin Goes supernova on the Sixers
As I write this, the Sixers are losing to the Los Angeles Clippers by 50 points. That is a problem on many levels, namely that Philadelphia is in dire need of a few lottery picks.
On the way to building a lead that may or may not upend a 23-year-old record, Blake Griffin brought the roof down with back-to-back dunks that rival any other he’s added to his resume.
He pulls out all stops with the off-glass alley-oop from Chris Paul, only to top himself a few seconds later with a behind-the-back pass leading to another alley-oop.
These guys have too much fun.
What do you think?
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