Have you missed these lists? Of course you have. One of the most eye-catching parts of basketball are the dunks thrown down by some of the world’s highest leapers and the chance that any game will feature a jam that will be remembered far beyond the game’s conclusion.
There are few highlights more enthralling than the dunk, and there’s an opportunity for a highlight-reel one any day of the season. Even in the first week of the season. Even when players are just getting their legs back under them and coming into their conditioning, there are still moments that are worth remembering.
In the first two weeks of the 2013-14 season, we get a top 10 of the usual suspects, plus a pair of rookies bursting onto the scene.
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10. Paul George is on a mission
I’ve been saying it since last year: If there’s any team that’s going to come out of the East this season not named the Miami Heat, it’s going to be the Indiana Pacers.
We’ve all taken notice of the hot individual starts by the likes of Chris Paul, Kevin Love and Stephen Curry, but has anyone noticed that the Pacers are 5-0 and Paul George is dropping nearly 26 points on 48 percent shooting, while also converting 44 percent of his seven three-point attempts per game?
George is making quite the leap following a solid conference finals series with Miami that ended with a thud in a blowout Game 7 loss where he only scored seven points on nine shots. The sting from the loss has appeared to resonate with George, who has come out of the gate guns blazing.
Among some of the incredible plays he’s made from his fiery start include this alley-oop from 7-2 teammate Roy Hibbert, who is able to deliver a perfect pass to set up PG for the slam.
9. Jonas Valanciunas dunks on the King
Unlike the dunk Evan Turner had over LeBron James earlier in the week, there was an actual effort being placed in attempting to send back the dunk attempt of Jonas Valanciunas, Toronto’s promising young 7-footer.
It’s a rarity to see LeBron not be on the better end of a meeting at the summit, even on the defensive end where he’s been known to make some incredible plays. Jonas gets the best of LeBron here, though, as he throws down the one-hander over the just-passing-by four-time MVP.
What’s more remarkable about the dunk is the fact that a player of LeBron’s caliber is even going up to stop the dunk. Many other superstars in LeBron’s position would have possibly let Jonas get the dunk uncontested, yet it wasn’t in James’ wheelhouse to simply allow a bucket when there was something he could do about it.
8. Dwyane Wade throws the alley-oop to–oh, you know the rest
Yeah, it’s certainly not among the upper echelon of Dwyane Wade-LeBron James alley-oops, but it’s still something that will never get old.
It’ll never get old to see the Heat create a turnover, watch as LeBron James leaks out with a shooter (the distraction), and a facilitator to make it all come together. It’s become a clockwork fixture of the Heat’s defense-to-offense nightmare.
This time, it was Shane Battier getting his hand on the ball, passing it off to Wade, who completes the play with the second alley-oop of the season between the two former Finals MVPs.
7. Tim Hardaway Sr. never did that
There are two Tim Hardaway, Jr. dunks that could have taken this spot, but we’ll choose the one where the defender actually made an effort.
During the Knicks’ loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, Hardaway, Jr. attempted to liven up the spirits of the New York faithful with this high-flying, fast-break slam from Raymond Felton over an unsuspecting Ricky Rubio.
The 6-6 Hardaway has gotten off to a slow start, shooting 32 percent on the season, but it doesn’t appear that athleticism or finishing at the rim should come as a problem.
6. Old man Pierce still got it
Paul Pierce is one of the sneakiest players in the league for plays like this. Despite recently turning 36 years old and seemingly slowing down by the day, he’s still capable of making highlights, such as this crossover/poster combo on the Orlando Magic.
If veteran savvy could be measured, Pierce would lead the league in it. It’s simply astounding how the former Kansas Jayhawk finds ways to score, despite having a extensive shot-release and limited explosion off the dribble.
Through four games, he’s averaging 15.8 points on 56 percent shooting. He may just be in the league for another decade based off of how he’s still capable of putting up numbers when every defender knows what to expect.
5. Anthony Davis does Cirque du Soleil on weekends
Don’t try and accredit the New Orleans Pelicans’ 1-3 start to Anthony Davis. The second-year star has started off the season as well as anyone could hope for, currently averaging an absurd 22 points, 12 rebounds and 4.3 blocks per.
Perhaps the most impressive stat is Davis’ 93 percent shooting on 28 free throw attempts.
But we’re not here to talk about free throws. We’re here to talk about throwdowns, such as this contorted alley-oop from Brian Roberts that Davis turns into a one-handed slam over Charlotte’s Anthony Tolliver.
4. Victor Oladipo welcomes himself to the NBA
It sure didn’t take long for Victor Oladipo to answer the early predictions of Rookie of the Year with this strong strip on Deron Williams and his first career 360 slam.
So there’s a travel and probably a foul in there… all it means is that Oladipo is halfway on his way to superstardom.
The former Hoosier has gotten off to a strong start. In four games coming off the Magic bench — that shouldn’t last long — Oladipo is dropping 14 points, 5.3 rebounds and four assists per game.
3. Andre Iguodala is home
With the Denver Nuggets at 0-3 and his Golden State Warriors 3-1, Andre Iguodala must feel he made the right decision to leave the former for the latter.
Andre was placed alongside athletic, highlight-factories in Denver, but it’s all come together in Golden State as he gets the best of both worlds: highlights and winning.
It didn’t take long for Iggy to find himself at home in Oakland, as Stephen Curry, who is known for these, hooks up with Andre for a 55-foot alley-oop.
Iguodala had quite the night in his team’s win over Philadelphia. Aside from having one of the best alley-oops of the year so far, he also pulled off this captivating assist:
2. C.J. Miles rises up over Orlando Johnson
The top poster dunk of the week, by far, goes to Cleveland’s C.J. Miles for his high-rising slam over Indiana’s Orlando Johnson.
The 6-6 Miles doesn’t appear to have his hand even connect with the rim. The dunk is similar to Blake Griffin‘s famed throwdown over Timofey Mozgov. It does nothing to diminish the intensity of the highlight, though. In fact, it only accentuates the degree of difficulty.
Following an excellent fake to get his defender leaning in the right direction, Miles only needed two dribbles and two steps to rise up and throw it in over the 6-5 Pacer reserve, who should have been called for a foul. I’m guessing the officials didn’t want to add insult to injury.
1. Chris Paul to Blake Griffin… X 3
We get it Chris, you’re good at throwing passes. The same goes for you, Blake. We understand you can catch-and-finish better than anyone else in the league, but that doesn’t mean you have to rub it in.
We’re barely two weeks into the season and already Chris Paul and Blake Griffin have combined for some of the most memorable plays of the early season. In their win over Golden State, which included CP3 going off for 42 points, the duo hooked up for not one, not two, but three alley-oops on three consecutive turnovers in the span of a single minute.
Each alley-oop has something special to it, too. The first alley-oop has Blake creating a turnover without even looking and the third features Griffin’s best finish of the three.
But the second alley is the most impressive and it’s not even close. Paul throws the alley-oop at midcourt before Griffin is even able to get to the three-point line. Griffin ran 25 feet to get a ball that was thrown 50 feet away from the rim.
Blake Griffin must have been mistaken when he claimed Lob City was a thing of the past. No fixture of the game that produces six points on three shots at the rim in a minute should ever be put on ice.
What do you think?
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