The NBA’s 5 Greatest Out-Of-Bounds Saves This Season

The thunderous dunk, the deep three-point shot, the dazzling pass and the game-changing block are usually the highlight of every game. But the often overlooked out-of-bounds save can be one of the most athletic plays in the game. Sacrificing one’s body just to save the ball from going out of bounds is an admirable feat, especially as players are often only rewarded by fans’ cheers.

Most of us in our normal day-to-day routines don’t hurl ourselves towards imminent danger. Yet in almost every game, a player will jump head first into the stands to save a basketball just so his team will have an extra possession. Although a player might have no chance at actually getting the ball, they will still make the attempt, as an extra possession could lead to two or three more points and the difference in a game.

As the playoffs near we pay tribute to the five best saves of the 2011-2012 season.

*** *** ***

5. DANNY GRANGER saves the ball in a close game against the Nets:
Granger makes an athletic play in a tightly contested game to save the ball and give the Pacers an extra possession. Love how Granger manages to save the ball just as it threatens to bounce over the out-of-bounds line.

4. BLAKE GRIFFIN saves the ball, leading to a Caron Butler dunk:
Griffin usually showcases his athletic ability with high flying dunks but this save is quite impressive. Taking a headfirst tumble over fans but saving the ball at the same time definitely earns some hustle points. The play is made even sweeter as it starts a fast break that ends with a dunk.

3. PAUL MILLSAP makes Andre Iguodala pay with a great save:
This is basically a double save as Iguodala throws the ball off of Millsap so the Sixers can get the ball. But Millsap is able to react quickly to keep the ball in the Jazz’s possession. Thinking on his feet, Millsap’s hustle makes Iguodala look foolish for trying to play a trick on him.

2. Miami Heat’s BIG 3 are fast break extraordinaires:
Great defense by Bosh and an even more incredible save by LeBron. Funny how Wade is rewarded for not hustling back on defense… but it does make for exciting basketball as the out-of-bounds save pass from Lebron is remarkable.

1. RODRIGUE BEAUBOIS makes an over the head save:
Rodrigue Beaubois scored eight points and recorded five assists in this game, but if the NBA used hockey assists, Beaubois would have gotten another with this athletic play. This has to be the best save of the season as not only did Roddy “Buckets” throw the ball over his head to Jason Terry after a sprint to save it, but was able to control his body and not go crashing into the scorer’s table – dude’s athleticism is off the charts. What makes the play even more remarkable is that it ignites a fast break that ends with a Shawn Marion game-ending dagger dunk.

Which save do you think is the best?

Follow Ananth on Twitter at @Ananth_Pandian.

Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.

Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.