The New York Knicks were clowned in the offseason for adding a bunch of aging vets, which made their roster the oldest in the league. Still on that roster though is 27-year-old J.R. Smith and during last night’s blowout of San Antonio, Smith showed he’s got plenty of youth left in his legs.
With just under six minutes left in the game, point guard Pablo Prigioni dribbles to the middle of the free throw line and Smith cuts to the basket. A pretty low pass was no problem for Smith, who managed to make the reverse dunk look rather easy. The speed with which he is able to get the ball up over his head and through the net is nothing short of amazing. As I’ve noted before, you know a guy has done something pretty incredible when his teammates on the bench are blown away. Not too many people are making fun of the Knicks roster at this point.
Every team in the NBA has played at least 30 games now, and the All-Star break is just about a month away. It’s not even too early to start figuring out who is going to make the playoffs and who isn’t. Miami and Oklahoma City, last season’s two Finals teams, are the only two squads who still have single digit losses, meaning so far a repeat of the Finals isn’t out of the question.
More importantly though, the season has brought us a ton of highlights. While the video clips are always good, sometimes the still photos show the true majesty and athleticism of the dunk. The other player’s reactions, the looks of determination on the faces of the dunkers, all captured in one frame makes for some great drama. Here are eight of my favorite shots from the season up to today.
It’s hard to be amazed with anything LeBron James does anymore. James continually makes the extraordinary look ordinary and during Miami’s ten-point win in overtime against Dallas he set the tone early. In the first quarter Miami got out on a break and while everyone on the Mavericks decided to not try to stop Lebron on the wing, Dwyane Wade saw him heading to the rim and threw a perfect alley oop which LeBron caught and reverse jammed.
The dunk itself wasn’t the most powerful we’ve seen from LeBron, but it just reminds you of his crazy athleticism. And LeBron’s stat line on the night reads like something out of a video game with 32 points, 12 rebounds, 9 assists, 3 steals and a block. Miami is now 22-8, good for the best record in the Eastern Conference.
The NBA is a fickle place. The old saying is you can’t fire players, so the coaches get fired. If you have a team that should win and you don’t, then you probably won’t last long, right Mike Brown? Avery Johnson woke up today as the coach of the Brooklyn Nets, who are currently 14-14, but by lunchtime or so, Johnson was unemployed.
Normally you wouldn’t expect the coach of a .500 team who is in third in their division to get canned, but the Nets were 11-4 through their first 15 games, meaning they’re 3-10 in their last 13 games. So despite being named Coach of the Month for October/November, Johnson is out of work. Tough business.
Dwyane Wade is supposed to be one of the NBA’s stand-up guys. He doesn’t seem to get in trouble, he’s handled some pretty awful off the court stuff with his ex and their kids pretty well, considering how batshit some of it was. None of that mattered when the Miami Heat were taking on the Charlotte Bobcats.
Wade was bringing the ball up the court when he was cutoff by Ramon Sessions. There was some contact, Sessions got whistled for a foul, and then Wade’s left leg flies up and Sessions gets a foot/shin combo to the nuts. Pretty much a dick move by Wade, and even though you can tell he’s trying to explain that it was an accident, there’s just no way that wasn’t intentional. Come on D-Wade, you’re better than that.
The Los Angeles Clippers have the best record in the NBA. Let that sink in for a minute, I’ll wait. Okay, let’s get back to this move that Jamal Crawford pulled off last night in the Clips’ 14th straight victory. That’s not a typo, by the way. Crawford defied all logic during a fast break by stopping on dime, going between his legs, around his back and making the short jumper. Billy Crystal, a long time Clippers fan, was sitting with the announcers and was amazed, just like everyone else in the building.
My buddy D.A. the Lions fans texted me last night after this, writing simply, ‘Jamal Crawford! Sick!’ He follows all Michigan guys who go pro. I wasn’t watching at the time, but after all the Christmas stuff was done, I made sure to check out the highlights and this nearly brought me off the couch. After the game, Magic Johnson said showtime was back in Los Angeles and he never thought he’d see it again, but that the Clippers have indeed brought it back. That’s high praise. The Clippers are now 22-6. Strange but true!
Kevin Durant might not be a budding movie star just yet, but his commercials are getting better and better. His latest from Sprint, hawking their mobile NBA coverage is pretty great. In this one, KD takes over the body of some suburban dad who has been watching too much basketball on his phone. While the appearance of KD makes the kid a little freaked out, the mom here looks like she wants to get freaky.
This lady does a great job of making your mind head straight down Innuendo Avenue with the look she’s giving Durant, and the payoff is funny.