Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Top 10 Moments of the 2016-2017 NBA Regular Season

The 2016-2017 NBA regular season has been an exciting one – probably one of the best we’ve ever witnessed.  As usual, there were tons of spectacular moments.  But here are my ten most favorites.  (Note: I will also be doing a list for the playoffs when it’s done.)

10.) When Devin Booker Scored 70
When I read the news that Devin Booker scored 70 points against Celtics, I was stunned.  If anybody from today’s generation of players can ever come close to Kobe’s 81-point game, I expected it to be someone like Stephen Curry or Russell Westbrook.  But Devin Booker?  Sure, he’s shown promise, but never did I expect that he has this in him.

But when I was finally able to watch a replay of the game, the attractiveness of the performance was a bit lessened.  His team lost, and the Celtics were never really threatened.  The final points of those 70 were arguably forced and gratuitous.  51 of the 70 came in the second half; 18 of that 51 came at the final four minutes – not as result of a fierce rally, but to pad the numbers.

Still, 70 is 70.  Plus, Booker is only 20 years old. So there’s that.

9.) This Grab-Block from Kristaps Porzingis
For a while there, he looked like someone who ate the Gum-Gum Devil Fruit.  Such length!

8.) This Totally Calculated Nutmeg from Westbrook
He probably didn’t intend that pass to go through the opponent’s legs.  Or did he?  This is Westbrook’s season after all.   He definitely could have done that on purpose.  Yup, he totally intended to do that.

7.) This Slick, No-Look, Over-the-Head Pass from Nikola Jokic
Nikola Jokic has been the best passing center of the regular season.  And he gave Tetsuya Kuroko-esque dishes with an air of charming nigh-nonchalance.  He had a couple of highlight reel-worthy dimes, but this one takes the cake.

6.) When LeBron Proved Once More that He Has Four-Dimensional Court Vision
LeBron has always been one of the greatest passers I’ve ever seen.  His best pass this season is this mindboggling wrap pass to Mike Dunleavy.  This man can definitely see two seconds into the future.

5.) When Old Man Vince Carter’s Body Memory Tapped into an Amazing Move
During his peak, Vince Carter was “half-man, half-amazing”, competing with the likes of Kobe Bryant and Tracy McGrady in creating highlight reels of athletic prowess.  At 40 years old, he’s no longer the spectacle that he used to be.  But sometimes, he gives us some glimpses of what he regularly used to do.  Like this play.

4.) The Best Dunk of the Year
My Los Angeles Lakers sucked this season again.  (Sigh.)  At least, fan-favorite Laker Larry Nance, Jr. gave us this mindblowing dunk.

3.) This Masterpiece of a Double-Clutch Dunk from the Greek Freak
I still can’t pronounce his name nor remember its spelling, but Giannis Antetokounmpo has emerged as one of my favorite players in the league today.  He has made tons of unbelievable, almost-from-the-free-throw-line, monster dunks this season but this is my favorite since it’s the greatest double-clutch dunk I’ve ever seen in real life (In fiction, Kaede Rukawa did a breathtaking one against Kainan in Slam Dunk).

2.) This Exhilarating Jump Ball-Ignited Green-to-Curry-to-Durant Fast Break Play
The Golden State Warriors are going to win the championship.

1.) When Westbrook Settled Once and For All That Hes the Friggin’ MVP
In the third to the last game of the season, against the Denver Nuggets, Russell Westbrook broke Oscar Robertson’s 55-year-year record for most triple-doubles in a season, clinching it with an assist with a little over four minutes left in the 4th.

But that wasn’t the entire story.  Trailing behind for most of the game, he also led the Thunder to a thrilling come-from-behind win, scoring 50 points in the process.

Now, this Nuggets team was fighting for a playoff berth.  A loss would mean elimination for them.  Hence, it wasn’t as if the Nuggets were taking Westbrook’s gunning-for-history bid lying down.  They were genuinely making it hard for the Thunder.  They were really giving it their all, as they literally can’t afford to lose.

With 2:33 left in the game, the Thunder was still behind by ten, which Westbrook cut to eight with a beautiful Euro step to the ring.  With a minute left in the game, behind by seven, he cut it to four after three free throws.  An offensive foul ensued, giving the Thunder the ball once again, and allowing him to drive for a quick two.

With 27 seconds left, the Nuggets were unable to score, positioning Westbrook to do this...

No comments: