Rajon’s Rage

 

For much of the season, the Boston Celtics have been lethargic at best. Their age has dictated their play in the worst way. Right now they are sitting at an uncharacteristic 7th place in the Eastern Conference behind the New York Knicks. Their defense has been stellar this season–ranking 3rd in points per game allowed with 89.4 and 4th in defensive rating ony allowing 98.4 points per 100 possessions–but it has seemed like the hoop has been as small as a button as they are only scoring 90.6 points per game according to basketball reference.

All of this hinges on the play of Rajon Rondo.  Since the middle of last season, Rondo has been considered the best player on the Boston Celtics. He’s one of the few players that can leave his mark on a game while only taking 7-10 shots in it. He’s a phenomenal passer, defender, rebounder, and very heady as a player. What’s the weakest are of his game? Scoring. Rondo isn’t the type of player to score 20 points night in a night out. 10 assists would be more like it, or maybe two steals. He’d beat you without you even knowing it.

The Knicks found that out the hard way yesterday as Rondo had a historical game dropping 18 points, 20 assists, and 17 rebounds. The first name that I thought of when seeing his stat -line was Lafayette “Fat” Lever. Lever was one of the best, if not the best, rebounding point guard’s ever. A few more names to drop into that box would be Magic Johnson, Jason Kidd, Oscar Robertson, and Walt Frazier.

From a historical perspective, Rondo is the only player to have a 20 assist 15 rebound game in the history of the NBA. Only Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and Jason Kidd have had games where they’ve scored 15 points, 15 rebounds, and 15 assists.

Had Rondo gone at least 10-20 (7-20) he would’ve had a legitimate shot at having a triple double twice over. He would’ve been the first player since the NBA/ABA merger to achieve that feat. Wilt Chamberlain had achieved this playing for the 76ers in 1968 but the NBA had not yet merged with the ABA.

Rondo has had two triple doubles in the last four games since the All-Star break. Aside from a game where he did not score against Cleveland, Rondo has played stellar basketball. He has taken his anger out on the league, and I think it’s a result of all of the slights that have been put on him.

Rondo was put in the All-Star game, but only as a reserve. Who made it over him? Luol Deng, Andre Iguodola, and Joe Johnson who he ultimately replaced. It was a slap in the face to say the least. The NBA had made a statement to him that he was not good enough to be an All-Star after being there the previous two years and not dropping in production in the least bit. Not a week later the trade rumors had started. Rondo to the (insert team here). It was time to blow Boston up because they aren’t good enough. Rondo has attitude problems. You name it, it was reported.

The normally unassuming, buttoned up point guard had let everyone know that he was listening with his play do the talking for him instead of going to the media about these things. There was no reason. Ainge and Rivers said they would like to keep Rondo around and until further notice that’s the way that it will be.

In an interview with CSN New England Rondo had finally spoken about the rumors.

I don’t know where people are getting their information from,But it was big of Doc to come out with a statement. People are still going to say me and Doc have problems. But even after that comment and statement he made, they are still going to say what they want to say. It’s just part of life. -Rajon Rondo via CSN New England

Bob Cousy even gave Rondo his blessing in an interview with ESPN New York. Those words aren’t easy to come by from a Boston legend.

Rondo is making the decision tougher for Boston by the day. I’m enjoying this though, so please folks, keep it up.

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“BaseLINE of the Night”

For those of you who don’t know, this is a post I do every day or night that pays homage to the guys out there ballin’ hard and making their fantasy owners feel all warm and fuzzy inside. With 9 games on the slate tonight, it was pretty nice Tuesday to get back into the swing of things after All-Star Weekend. Here’s the latest edtion of “BaseLINE of the Night” for Tuesday, February 28th, 2012.

The Durantula was off tonight so I guess someone else can win the award. We’ll see if he can pick up where he left off tomorrow night against the 76ers though. Tonight though, we have a first time winner. When you think about this guy, it’s not a guy that would come to mind pretty much ever when thinking of a top-line producer. He plays for the Milwaukee Bucks and isn’t even a starter. Tonight, however, he was on fire and helped the Bucks to a one point win over the Wizards. The “BaseLINE of the Night” goes to… Mike Dunleavy. Yes, I really meant Mike Dunleavy and no, that’s not a typo. The worst part is that when looking for highlights, there are more results for Dunleavy receiving the highlights than actually providing the highlights. Anyways, enough with the Mike Dunleavy bashing and just go ahead and enjoy this line and clip.

  • 28 Pts (9-17 FG, 5-10 3PT, 5-5 FT)/2 Reb/1 Ast/3 Stl/1 TO

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!


While Mr. Dunleavy reigns supreme for a night, let’s take a look at the guys who came oh-so-close to being awarded the “Line of the Night” award. Rounding out the top 5 are:

T2. DeAndre Jordan – 14 Pts (7-9 FG)/14 Reb/2 Stl/4 Blk

T2. Derrick Williams – 27 Pts (9-10 FG, 4-4 3PT, 5-5FT)/5 Reb/1 Blk/1 TO

4. Derrick Rose – 32 Pts (11-24 FG, 1-5 3PT, 9-11 FT)/2 Reb/9 Ast/3 Stl/2 Blk/2 TO

5. Paul George – 11 Pts (4-7 FG, 2-2 3PT, 1-2 FT)/9 Reb/5 Ast/4 Stl/1 Blk/1 TO

*Suprising Line of the Night*

  • Derrick Williams (35% owned) –  See Line Above

Derrick Williams, the second overall pick in this past draft, had a career night tonight. Tonight was the first night that the explosive rookie has broken the 20-point barrier in his career. In the whole month of February, he only scored in double figures three other times! His line tonight was tied for the second best of the night as well. Although he has the talent to be a great player and scorer, he doesn’t have the right situation. There is such a logjam for minutes with both Rubio, Ridnour, and Wes Johnson starting, plus Beasley, Webster, and Barea coming off the bench, and Kevin Love playing much of the game, that it’s hard for Williams to get consistent minutes at either SF or PF or even SG. While he might have earned himself some more playing time for his game tonight, I still think his play, as well as his playing time, will be sporadic for the rest of the season barring injury so if you have him, enjoy tonight but don’t expect it moving forward.

While these guys weren’t the best of the best, they certainly had their owners smiling after their performance. As I always say, In the words of Cleveland fans (myself included), “There’s always next year,” or, in this case, next game.

That’s it for this edition of “BaseLINE of the Night,” but make sure to check back tonight/tomorrow to see who takes home the award.

Jewish School Decides Against Playing in State Semifinals Because of Sabbath

Imagine your high school basketball team winning its regional championship to advance to the state semifinals in Dallas, Texas. The kids, coaches, parents, school and community are in a tizzy about how well the basketball team is playing.

The Robert M. Beren Academy, an Orthodox Jewish day school in Houston, has their opportunity to play in the state semifinals on Friday. There is just one problem: Sabbath.

Jewish Sabbath is a weekly day of rest that begins sundown on Friday until the appearance of three stars in the sky on Saturday night.

So what do they do? The answer is simple: Don’t attend the trip and forfeit the contest.

“The sacred mission will trump excellence in the secular world,” Rabbi Harry Sinoff, Beren’s head of school, said Monday in a telephone interview, according to Mary Pilon of the New York Times.

How about attempting to reschedule the game to another date?

It’s not going to happen because the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools denied the appeal for the game.

“When Beren’s joined years ago, we advised them that the Sabbath would present them with a problem with the finals,” Edd Burleson, the director of the association said.

The rules of the association have been firm and continuous every year.

“If we solve one problem, we create another problem. If the schools are just going to arrange their own schedule, why do we even set a tournament?” Burleson said. “Over a period of time, our state tournament, which is a highlight of our association, deteriorates to nothing. That’s the whole point of having an organization.”

It seems like a situation that Robert M. Beren Academy, who was 23-5 on the season, could have prevented years ago.

This would have been the school’s first trip to the state semifinals.

Halfway Mark NBA Report

Baseline Basketball’s halfway mark report on the NBA. As the All Star festivities end the real fun begins. This is the part of the season when the fight to the finish line gets rough, teams are wheeling and dealing players and the teams who are for real usually separate themselves from teams that are not. Here Baseline Basketball asks NBA writers Michael Sykes and Samar Gaines a few questions. Read there thoughts below. 

1. Who will win the East this year? 

Mike: I have the Miami Heat winning the East this year. It seems like a no-brainer pick to me. There is no team with enough fire power to match them on the offensive end with their Space and Pace offense. They get in your head with their vicious traps on defense and play the passing lanes better than any team that I’ve ever seen. Miami is first in offensive efficiency and seventh in defensive efficiency, according to Basketball Reference. Not to mention LeBron James is having the best season that has ever been recorded in NBA history right now. He’s posting a 32.40 PER right now which is far and away the best ever.

Samar: Barring injury the Miami Heat will win the East. The Heat’s offense is finally looking like what Pat Riley hoped for when he brought LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh together. LeBron and Wade are two of the best finishers in the league. They have three-point shooters to space the floor with Mario Chalmers, Mike Miller, Shane Battier, James Jones and Norris Cole. Chris Bosh and Udonis Haslem can score inside or step out and hit the 15-18 foot jumpers. Defensively this team likes to pressure the ball handler and create turnovers. Like Mike mentioned, LeBron James is having his best season and over the last 10 games Dwyane Wade is averaging 24.5 ppg while shooting 57%.

2. Who will win the West this year? 
Mike: I have the Oklahoma City Thunder winning the West in a close race with the rest of the top teams in the conference. The West is really tight right now–there are  nine games between the Thunder and the No. 9 seed and only three-and-a-half between the third place Clippers and the ninth place Trailblazers. Right now, though, the Thunder are three games ahead of the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs are hot right now, but the Thunder are too. They share the best record in the league at 27-7 with the Miami Heat and have a two-time scoring champion in Kevin Durant to back them up. I don’t see them slowing down anytime soon.
Samar: As good as the Oklahoma City Thunder have looked I’m going to surprise some people and pick the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs have the second best record in the West despite Manu Ginobili missing major time with injuries. Heading into the all-star break the Spurs were winners of 12 of the last 13 games. According to Basketball-Reference.com the Spurs are sixth in offensive rating and 16th in defensive rating. But over the last 15 or so games the Spurs defense has been much better and it’s all led by Tim Duncan. While Duncan has lost a lot of his athleticism, his basketball IQ remains off the chart, and he uses that to make sure he and his teammates are in the right spot defensively. Offensively Duncan no longer has to be double teamed so the Spurs play more of an up-tempo style. They like to get out on the run and shoot the three. Gregg Popovich has been able to get the most out of guys like Danny Green, Gary Neal, Cory Joseph and Kawhi Leonard.
 
3. What team should get the number one pick ?  
Mike: I believe that the Charlotte Bobcats should get the No. 1 pick. Hopefully the ping-pong balls work out in their favor because they need a dominant force in the middle like Kentucky’s Anthony Davis. Right now, their defense allows 100.8 points per game which is 27th in the NBA. This team is 29th in the league in defensive efficiency and 30th in offensive efficiency. I believe that a turn around on any team should always start on the defensive side of the ball and Davis would be the perfect center piece for that task.

Samar: I agree that Charlotte should get the pick because they really have the least talent, but how fun would it be if the Washington Wizards end up getting that pick? Think of this: John Wall at the point with a frontline of JaVale McGee, Jan Vesely and Anthony Davis. They could run with any team in the league and defensively a front court of Davis and McGee would be very hard to score on. Selfishly I want this to happen for Wall’s career. Getting Davis can help him turn this Wizards team around almost immediately.

4. Does Derrick Rose’s injuries worry you? 
Mike: They do worry me a little. If they are lingering, it would definitely put a ball and chain on the powerhouse that is the Chicago Bulls. Rose says that he should be fine thanks to his new chiropractor Stuart Yoss. With that being said, though, this makes me feel that the Bulls will make a move to acquire a more consistent threat in their front court like Pau Gasol or Dwight Howard. Rose’s teammates must be a threat for this team to thrive and last postseason it didn’t happen. Joakim Noah and Luol Deng must step up to the plate and make plays. Then Rose’s back will pose no threat to the title contending Bulls.
Samar: As a big-time fan of Tracy McGrady whenever I hear back spasms I’m automatically worried. McGrady would miss games almost every year with back spasms and the fact that Rose dealt with back spasms in high school is a bad sign that this will be recurring. While I am very concerned, Rose is a very hard worker and if anybody is going to put in the work to make sure they overcome this it’s Rose.
 
5. How far will the Knicks go this season? 
Mike: The Knicks will simply go as far as Carmelo Anthony, not Jeremy Lin, takes them. At the end of the day Carmelo is the best player on that team. At the end of the games when it’s time for the money ball they’re going to go through Carmelo. Lin must focus on beating the traps that are going to be thrown at him and cut down on turnovers. If they can do that then the Knicks are as good as any team in the NBA. I believe that they’ll be the sixth seed by the end of the season and play Philadelphia in the first round. I think they’ll be able to get by them, but get eliminated by the Bulls in the second round. But who knows, if the team’s chemistry can improve by that time then they could be in the finals.
Samar: It all depends on the seeding at the end of the season. If they are a seven or eight seed this team will be one and done. But if the Knicks can get the sixth or higher seed and avoid the Bulls and Heat this team is talented enough to beat a three, four or five seed. The Knicks have been a better team with Jeremy Lin playing the point guard position, but as anyone who saw the game vs. the Heat on Thursday, great defensive teams can completely take him out of games. This team still has major problems with the inconsistent play of Amar’e Stoudemire, the turnover problems and they have better chemistry with Carmelo Anthony on the bench. I have serious doubts that they will be able to fix these problems this season.
 
6. Do you see Dwight Howard moving soon? If so, to where? If not, why not?
Mike: I don’t see Dwight Howard going anywhere through the rest of the season. The reason why is that no team seems to have enough to give the Orlando Magic back for Dwight. His top suitors right now are Los Angeles and New Jersey depending on what report you’re reading. In Los Angeles, you’d likely get Pau Gasol or Andrew Bynum back in return. Gasol is coming into the twilight of his career soon and he won’t be able to reciprocate half of what Howard was able to do for Orlando. Bynum will be able to, but with his shady injury history you’d also want some other pieces and draft assets in return. The Lakers don’t have that. With New Jersey you would only get back Brook Lopez and a few draft picks that would lose value because of the combination of Deron Williams and Howard. Unless you can swing a third team into this deal, which is possible, I don’t think the Magic pull the trigger.
Samar: I really think Dwight is getting moved right after all-star weekend. I  think the only reason he has lasted on the Magic this long is because the all-star game was in Orlando. It just makes too much sense for the Lakers to make a move for Dwight now and if you’re the Orlando Magic why wait and lose him for nothing? If I’m Orlando and LA wants him so badly they will have to send Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol to Orlando and Orlando can send  Hedo Turkoglu, Chris Duhon, Dwight Howard and Ryan Anderson to the Lakers. Orlando gets Bynum and Pau, whom they can flip in the offseason if they’d like too, while shedding Turkoglu and Duhon’s contracts off their books. The Lakers get Howard to anchor the defense and some much-needed outside shooting with Anderson and Hedo.
 
7. Share a hypothetical trade idea. 
Mike: My trade consists of the Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets and Orlando Magic. Pau Gasol gets sent to the Houston Rockets, Dwight Howard is shipped to the Lakers and Andrew Bynum would go to the Orlando Magic. The Lakers would get Luis Scola in return for Gasol and get Howard back from the Orlando Magic. The Magic would get Kevin Martin from the Rockets, which would give them another threat on the wing and would keep them competitive with Bynum down low. Quentin Richardson and Ishmael Smith would be sent to the Lakers and Rockets respectively to fulfill salary cap requirements. The Rockets and Lakers would be able to stay competitive while the Magic would have a nice centerpiece for the future barring health issues and also a new trade piece in Kevin Martin.
SamarI know things are going well for the Philadelphia 76ers but this team has two major holes. One is the health of Spencer Hawes and the second is that this team doesn’t have a true go-to scorer. Lou Williams has done a great job off the bench, but wouldn’t this team look better if they traded Evan Turner to the New Orleans Hornets for Eric Gordon? I know Eric Gordon is on the New Orleans Hornets and how difficult it is to trade with them, but he didn’t sign the extension with the Hornets and they could lose him for nothing. Instead of letting him get to the open market trade him to the 76ers for another young shooting guard in Evan Turner. Once Eric Gordon and Spencer Hawes gets healthy this trade makes the 76ers true contenders.

Dunk Competition

It’s about that time again. The NBA All-Star Weekend is underway and the dunk competition is fast approaching tonight. Needless to say, I don’t think people are nearly as excited for this year’s contest.

Too bad Blake Griffin isn’t going to defend his title this year because not only would we get to enjoy his unbelievable hops, but we would also already know who the winner was going to be. That’s right. I said it. The dunk competition has more or less become a popularity contest that is more about the pre- and post-dunk celebrations and showmanship than the actual dunk itself. Don’t get me wrong, I still like watching it, but it’s just changed a lot over the years and seems much more dried out. I don’t think it’s necessarily the fault of the contestants because I mean, come on, how many different dunks and possibilities are even humanly possible? Maybe it’s just me, but I would rather see a guy perform great dunks, ala Vince Carter, over all the showmanship, ala Nate Robinson.

Even today, in my opinion, I still feel as though Vince Carter’s performance in the 2000 dunk competition was THE best ever and that competition was one of the best ever as well. I feel like the contest has been on a downward spiral ever since “Vinsanity” took over in 2000. Sure, there have been great performances and memorable dunks, most notably Jason Richardson and his performances including his alley-oop, under-the-legs, reverse jam. Nothing, however, can measure up to what Vince did in 2000 though. Let’s take a look at some highlights of that contest.

This year’s contestants consist of a lot of new faces and no real big superstars. That is actually one thing I’m sort of looking forward to. It’s the whole “unknown” and “surprise” factor that comes along with these guys and not really knowing what they can do. None of them necessarily have the popularity won over another like Griffin would either. Let’s go ahead and get to know this group a little better:

  1. Paul George – SG/SF / Indiana Pacers / 2nd year / Fresno State / 6’8″
  2. Derrick Williams – SF/PF / Minnesota Timberwolves / Rookie / Arizona / 6’8″
  3. Chase Budinger – SG/SF / Houston Rockets / 3rd year / Arizona / 6’7″
  4. Jeremy Evans – SF/PF / Utah Jazz / 2nd year / Western Kentucky / 6’9″

When looking at this list, I’m actually excited to see if these guys can come up with some things that will surprise everyone and how they do when the lights come on. I think conventional wisdom would lead us to placing the “favorite” label on D-Will because of the explosiveness we’ve seen out of him so far in his rookie year and last year in college. The guy who is my favorite player of this group and who I really want to win is Paul George. I also think that George is actually going to win as well. I was going to pick Shumpert before he was replaced by Jeremy Evans, simply because he seems like the one who would be the most celebratory and I figured his pre- and post-dunk showmanship would be the best. I also figured, correctly at that, that he would involve Jeremy Lin somehow and the crowd would pretty much love it no matter what as long as they got their dose of “Linsanity” which would have given him a few extra points from the judges. However, I can’t really figure out who, out of this group, will be the biggest showboater, therefore I’m going to have to pick my favorite guy, Paul George. Plus, I have also heard that he has something surprising planned so I’m looking forward to it. With all that said, who do you think is going to win?

3-Point Competition

Is a repeat in order?

Unlike the dunk competition, the 3-point contest has absolutely nothing to do with judging and popularity and absolutely everything to do with who can make the most shots in the time alotted. Therefore, while the dunk competition is generally considered the main attraction and the more exciting of the two, the 3-point competition is definitely the more fair. Also, unlike the dunk competition, last year’s 3-point champion, James Jones, is returning to defend his title. Joe Johnson was supposed to take part but was a scratch due to injury and has been replaced by Kevin Durant. Let’s take a better look at all of the contestants:

  • James Jones – SG/SF, Miami Heat, reigning champion, 42.0% 3PT this season, 21 3PTM this season, 40.3% 3PT career
  • Kevin Love – PF/C, Minnesota Timberwolves, 34.8% 3PT this season, 49 3PTM this season, 36.5% 3PT career
  • Ryan Anderson – PF/C, Orlando Magic, 43.4% 3PT this season, 99 3PTM this season, 39.2% 3PT career
  • Mario Chalmers – PG, Miami Heat, 45.6% 3PT this season, 68 3PTM this season, 36.7% 3PT career
  • Anthony Morrow – SG/SF, New Jersey Nets, 40.2% 3PT this season, 68 3PTM this season, 43.9% 3PT career
  • Kevin Durant – SF, Oklahoma City Thunder, 36.5% 3PT this season, 58 3PTM this season, 35.8% 3PT career

When looking over the contestants, there are a lot of great shooters as well as big name superstars. I really feel like nobody is the favorite heading into this contest and that anyone can win it. Personally, my pick is going to be Ryan Anderson. He’s just been on fire all year and is having an amazing year. He almost has 100 threes made already (99) and is averaging 2.9 per game so far! If he keeps up that rate, it will be the highest since 2007-08 when Peja Stojakovic and Jason Richardson averaged 3.0 per game. He’s also shooting the second best 3PT% of all the contestants this year behind only Chalmers (45.6%). Another big factor he’ll have on his side is shooting in his home arena and with a hometown crowd cheering him on. My dark horse for the event has to be Anthony Morrow. He’s a guy that nobody is really talking about right now but is known for his 3-point shooting. He has a smooth stroke and has easily the best career 3PT% of all the contestants so definitely watch out for him. With that said, who do you think is going to win?

Rising Stars BBVA Challenge

The Rookie-Sophomore game has changed up a little bit this year. Usually, in years past, it would be a group of the best second year guys facing off against a group of the best rookie players so far. However, this year the NBA changed it up a little bit. Instead of Rookies vs. Sophomores, this year, the NBA had Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal be the managers of the two teams and they drafted their teams. This mixes Rookies and Sophomores onto the same team and should make it a little more interesting, especially with as big of personalities as Shaq and Chuck drafting and managing the teams. They also decided that “Linsanity” couldn’t be possibly left off the rosters, so they added Lin and rookie Norris Cole to the mix. Beforehand, Shaq was heavily favored as I’m sure most viewers figured Shaq at least had a decent of idea of what he was doing. Shaq even joked that he was the “black Pat Riley.” Here are both squads:

  1. Team Shaq                                                                                                 2.  Team Chuck
  • Blake Griffin, LA Clippers                                                                             Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Jeremy Lin, NY Knicks                                                                                  DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings
  • Ricky Rubio, Minnesota Timberwolves                                                     Derrick Williams, Minnesota Timberwolves
  • Markieff Morris, Phoenix Suns                                                                     Paul George, Indiana Pacers
  • Kemba Walker, Charlotte Bobcats                                                             MarShon Brooks, NJ Nets
  • Landry Fields, NY Knicks                                                                             John Wall, Washington Wizards
  • Norris Cole, Miami Heat                                                                               Evan Turner, Philadelphia 76ers
  • Brandon Knight, Detroit Pistons                                                                 Gordon Hayward, Utah Jazz
  • Tristan Thompson, Cleveland Cavaliers                                                  Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs
  • Greg Monroe, Detroit Pistons                                                                      Derrick Favors, Utah Jazz

Shaq took no time at all in taking Blake Griffin with his first overall pick and then Chuck surprised by taking Kyrie with his first pick. I think Shaq did a nice job by teaming Lin and Rubio with Griffin because I think they fit nicely together. However, I think Chuck has a more versatile team and I don’t understand why Shaq decided to draft Morris so early. When watching it, it looked like he just threw a name out there because of the clock expiring. I would like Shaq’s team a lot better if he would have picked John Wall ahead of Morris, Walker, and Fields, but for some reason both guys let Wall slide until Chuck finally took him with one of his last picks. The last four picks of the draft were randomly drawn and Derrick Favors was an injury replacement for Tiago Splitter.

When looking at both rosters, I feel like this could be a very close and entertaining game. Ultimately, I like the versatility of Chuck’s team and really like the backcourt of Irving and Wall as they are two of my favorite players in the league. I also think that Wall might come out attacking and playing with a chip on his shoulder after being passed up so many times. So, in conclusion, I’m going to have to pick “Team Chuck” as the winner of this exciting game. What do you guys think?

Top 5 NBA Slam Dunk Contest Dunks of All Time

With the NBA Slam Dunk Contest coming up, I thought it would be a good time to put out a top 10 NBA Slam Dunk Contest dunks of all time. There are so many candidates that could be on this list; and if some of those players do not make this top-five list, it is in no way disrespecting them. It is pretty difficult to comprise such a list with so many great dunks. This list might not be the dunk that won the individual the title, but simply the best dunks of the contest. I would love to see LeBron James vs Blake Griffin in a dunk contest, but I doubt we will ever see that.

1. Vince Carter: Reverse 360 Windmill Dunk, 2000

No. 1 on this list is Vince Carter’s reverse 360 windmill. This was just spectacular dunk. This was in the first round. He would wow the crowd a couple more times in this contest, but this dunk was simply ridiculous. During the broadcast, TNT announcer, Kenny Smith uttered the words “Let’s go home! Let’s go home!” When you pull a dunk like this in the very first round, then you probably deserve to win the contest, which is what Carter did. I remember watching this live, at nine years old, and simply having my jaw drop in amazement. This is regarded as one of the best dunk contests of all time.

2. Michael Jordan: Free Throw Line Dunk, 1988

His Airness, Michael Jordan, graces my list at the No. 2 spot. A lot of people will argue that this should be No. 1, but not in my mind. Don’t get me wrong, whoever thinks it could be number one has a very strong case. This is one of the most memorable dunks of all time, not just in dunk contests. When people think of a dunk from the foul line, they think of MJ. This was the 1988 dunk contest, and he needed a score of 48 to tie Dominique Wilkins of the Atlanta Hawks. Jordan ran from the opposite end of the court, and then took off from the free throw line. While in the air, he pumped the ball, before slamming it home. Jordan received a score of 50, and thus won the contest.

3. Jason Richardson: Alley-Oop, Through the Legs, Reverse Dunk, 2003

In the 2003 NBA Slam Dunk Contest finals, Jason Richardson squared off against Desmond Mason of the, then Seattle Supersonics. Richardson was looking to repeat as champion, but he needed a 48 to tie and a 49 to win. He got a 50 on a remarkable dunk. He often, and still to this day, passed to himself, and that was the case here. He started from the baseline corner, threw the ball up, caught it, put it between his legs, and dunked it reverse style with his left hand. This was something new, and he pulled it off perfectly.

4. Andre Iguodala: Behind the Backboard Alley-Oop, 2006

Andre Iguodala had the other A.I., Allen Iverson, assist him with this dunk. He ran from behind the baseline, caught the ball off the back of the backboard, where Iverson had thrown it, then ducked under the backboard and dunked the ball backwards. One of the greatest dunks I have ever seen. It took him a couple tries, but when he finally got it, it was awesome. He should have won this dunk contest, as Nate Robinson, who is listed at 5’9”, won, but took 18 tries to complete his dunk. One of the most memorable dunks I have ever watched live.

5. Vince Carter: Between the Legs off a Bounced Alley-Oop, 2000

Once again, Vinsanity makes the list. In the same dunk contest as his dunk on the number one spot, Carter would have all sorts of spectacular dunks. To me, this was the second best. He was assisted on this dunk by his cousin and then-teammate, Tracy McGrady. T-Mac stood in front of the hoop, bounced the ball in the air, and then VC15 leaped, grabbed it, and put it between his legs and dunked it home. After finishing the dunk, Vinsanity mouthed the words “Its over.” This was another jaw dropping dunk. Carter assisted McGrady earlier in the contest, so this was really fitting.

Originally, I was going to make this a top 10 list, but I decided to reduce it to top 5. There are a ton of dunks that could have gone in my top 5, but these, in my opinion, are the five best dunks from the NBA Slam Dunk Contests.

Honorable Mentions (in no particular order)
Isaiah Rider- 1994
Spud Webb- 1986
Dwight Howard- 2008
Nate Robinson- 2009
Tracy McGrady- 2000
Larry Nance- 1984
Michael Jordan -1987
Dominique Wilkin- 1990
Kobe Bryant- 1997
Dee Brown- 1991
1988 Slam Dunk Contest
2000 Slam Dunk Contest

“BaseLINE of the Night”

 

For those of you who don’t know, this is a post I do every day or night that pays homage to the guys out there ballin’ hard and making their fantasy owners feel all warm and fuzzy inside. With only 4 games on the slate tonight, it was pretty much a typical Thursday and gave all the guys playing a great shot at winning the award in the last night before All-Star Weekend. Here’s the latest edtion of “BaseLINE of the Night” for Thursday, February 23rd, 2012.

Well with Kevin Durant on the slate tonight, could he be the top line for the third time in his last four games? He would have to beat out LeBron and Wade and the Heat and Kobe to do it. KD wasn’t going to let that deter him from keeping up this remarkable hot streak! He is absolutely on fire right now as he actually has been the top line in three of his last four games with the other game he had to “settle” for third best line. This is why this guy is taken first overall in many drafts. He gives you consistent all-around production, night in and night out and don’t expect anything less for the rest of the year. I mentioned before how I might need to start finding more highlights of Durant and I guess I really need to start having them pre-saved for a quick find. Check out his award-winning line tonight:

  • 33 Pts (12-22 FG, 2-8 3PT, 7-7 FT)/4 Reb/6 Ast/3 Stl/1 Blk/2 TO

The Durantula strikes once again!


While Durant reigns supreme for a night (and pretty much the whole week), let’s take a look at the guys who came oh-so-close to being awarded the “BaseLINE of the Night” award. Rounding out the top 5 are:

2. LeBron James – 20 Pts (7-16 FG, 6-6 FT)/9 Reb/8 Ast/5 Stl/2 Blk/4 TO

3. DeJuan Blair – 28 Pts (12-21 FG, 4-4 FT)/12 Reb/3 Ast/2 Stl/1 Blk

4. Richard Jefferson – 17 Pts (5-8 FG, 5-7 3PT, 2-2 FT)/8 Reb/1 Ast/1 Stl

5. Metta World Peace – 9 Pts (3-3 FG, 3-5 3PT)/4 Reb/5 Ast/2 Stl

*Suprising Line of the Night*

  • Danny Green (12% owned) –  16 Pts (6-12 FG, 1-5 3PT, 3-4 FT)/6 Reb/2 Ast/3 Stl/2 TO

Green has really grown a lot this year under Greg Popovich. Heading into the season, Danny was an afterthought for the Spurs. However, being that the Spurs have sustained a lot of injuries and Pops wants to rest his veterans for the playoffs, it has created a good opportunity for Green and he has taken advantage of it. He’s averaging career-highs in every single category except for FG%, granted he hasn’t played much in his career so far. He has also shown flashes of being an all-around fantasy contributor. At only 22 min a game, he is averaging 1.2 threes a game, 0.8 steals a game, and 0.8 blocks a game making him so close to joining a unique group of players that are so valuable in fantasy and that’s the 1-1-1 (threes-blocks-steals) club. If he were to get consistent starting role and 30+ minutes a night, he could definitely accomplish that. In the short term, expect Green to keep starting and getting decent time until Ginobili returns. Even still, his play will be inconsistent and once Manu comes back it’ll be interesting to see what his role is.

While these guys weren’t the best of the best, they certainly had their owners smiling after their performance. As I always say, In the words of Cleveland fans (myself included), “There’s always next year,” or, in this case, next game.

That’s it for this edition of “BaseLINE of the Night,” but make sure to check back tonight/tomorrow to see who takes home the award.

“BaseLINE of the Night”

 

 

For those of you who don’t know, this is a post I do every day or night that pays homage to the guys out there ballin’ hard and making their fantasy owners feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It was pretty much a full night around the league which is regular for a Wednesday. Here’s the latest edtion of “BaseLINE of the Night” for Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012.

 Well the Kevin Durant watch was on as he tried to be the main man for three consecutive games which would be amazing. He failed to accomplish the feat, although he did wind up as the third best player on the night so I’m sure his owners are still quite pleased. This night, however, belonged to Chris Paul. Expectations were huge once he was teamed up with DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin. Many, including myself, expected that CP3 would lead the league in assists hands down. While he hasn’t led the league, he is sitting at fourth in the NBA and is ranked as the third best player in fantasy this season. That’s not too shabby as he was generally ranked third heading into the season behind LeBron and KD, so he’s giving you pretty much what you paid for him. Wednesday night just showed another reason why he’s an elite performer in fantasy basketball. Check out that line:
  • 36 Pts (11-16 FG, 3-7 3PT, 11-12 FT)/1 Reb/9 Ast/2 Stl/3 TO

Poor Tony Parker!


While CP3 reigns supreme for a night, let’s take a look at the guys who came oh-so-close to being awarded the “BaseLINE of the Night” award. Rounding out the top 5 are:

2. Paul Millsap – 25 Pts (10-17 FG, 5-5 FT)/9 Reb/2 Ast/2 Stl/2 Blk/1 TO

3. Kevin Durant – 28 Pts (9-22 FG, 2-4 3PT,  8-9 FT)/9 Reb/6 Ast/4 Stl/3 TO

4. Marcin Gortat – 21 Pts (9-13 FG, 3-3 FT)/15 Reb/1 Ast/1 Stl/1 Blk

5. MarShon Brooks – 24 Pts (10-15 FG, 4-7 3PT)/5 Reb/2 Ast/2 Stl/1 TO

*Suprising Line of the Night*

  • Jordan Crawford (29% owned) –  32 Pts (12-19 FG, 3-6 3PT, 5-6 FT)/2 Reb/4 Ast/1 Stl/3 TO

Crawford is an interesting player. When given regular minutes, he has shown flashes of greatness. For example, when Nick Young went down with an injury last year, Crawford stepped right in and played great. The problem is that when both are healthy, both will be inconsistent. Crawford is on a hot streak right now though. He must have been feeling the love on Valentine’s Day because ever since then, this is what he has been doing: 30.7 MPG, 21.2 PPG, 1.8 3PG, 3.2 RPG, 3.0 APG, 1.0 SPG, 54.1% FG, 89.5% FT, and 2.8 TOPG. This line is good for the 41st best player over that span. What’s more impressive is that he’s hit at least one three-pointer in every game during that stretch and has scored 20+ in four of the five games as well with the other game being a 12-point performance which is still double figures. As you can see, he’s been getting a lot of playing time lately and that should only continue with the way he is playing right now. Pick him up if you are in need of scoring and threes with a good FT% and decent steals and ride this hot streak. However, don’t think that he will keep this FG% up because he’s still only at 39.4 % for the year and finished last season at 39.0%. It might be worthwhile to scoop him up and enjoy the hot streak while you can and maybe see if you can sell high on him before that FG% comes crashing back down.

While these guys weren’t the best of the best, they certainly had their owners smiling after their performance. As I always say, In the words of Cleveland fans (myself included), “There’s always next year,” or, in this case, next game.

That’s it for this edition of “BaseLINE of the Night,” but make sure to check back tonight/tomorrow to see who takes home the award.