Monday, August 02, 2010

Plays of the NBA Playoffs, Vol. 1 (Nos. 25-11)

• Also see: Plays of the NBA Playoffs, Vol. 2 (Plays 10-1)

After a crazy stretch of a seven-game Finals running immediately into the Draft running immediately into the most fevered period of NBA free agency ever seen, things have finally seemed to calm down a bit, so we thought it was a good time to rewind back to the Plays of the Playoffs, 2010 edition. We're running this in two volumes: plays 25-11 today, 10-1 tomorrow.

It was a bit of a strange playoff season in general, and the Plays of the Playoffs reflect that. The 2010 NBA Playoffs featured a lot of great individual performances more so than classic great plays. There wasn't the sheer volume of spectacular plays that we saw in 2009, but still, there was plenty to like. As always, these rankings are highly subjective - let's get it started:


25. Hawks v. Bucks, Game 1: Josh Smith Alley-oop
Let's go back to the first weekend of the playoffs to get things going, with Josh Smith going up high to throw down the long alley-oop from Joe Johnson.


24. Jazz v. Nuggets, Game 1: Nene With The Lefty Facial
Also from the postseason's first weekend back in April, Nene goes to the left hand to serve up a powerful facial to Kyrylo Fesenko.


23. Cavs v. Celtics, Game 2: LeBron Chases Down Tony Allen
Feels so odd to now have LeBron in here in a Cleveland uniform, but here goes, as he chases down Tony Allen in the open floor for the perfectly-timed "chasedown" block.


22. Bucks v. Hawks, Game 4: Carlos Delfino With Authority
Carlos Delfino powers down the lane for the somewhat unexpected dunk over two Hawks in the half-court O.


21. Lakers v. Thunder, Game 6: Gasol's Game-Winner
With the Lakers facing their third defeat before the raucous crowds in OKC, and potentially facing a decisive Game 7, Pau Gasol saves the day with a last-second tip-in.


20. Cavs v. Bulls, Game 4: LeBron With The Half-Court Pull-up
Last LeBron clip of today's batch, we promise, Cleveland. But when you knock down a pull-up jumper from half-court, you make the list.


19. Lakers v. Suns, Game 6: Kobe's Exercises in Great Shotmaking
As a representative clip of Kobe's outside shooting barrage which knocked Phoenix out of the playoffs, here's the toughest one he hit all night: a double-pump deep J with Grant Hill draped all over him. Plus a friendly "Keep trying to cover me" butt-tap to Phoenix coach Alvin Gentry for good measure.


As an added bonus, one of our favorite smaller plays of the playoffs, a demonstration of superior skill as Kobe knocks down a left-handed 12-foot runner in Game 3 of the Finals.


18. Magic v Celtics, Game 5: Howard's Hustle Block
Dwight Howard sprints coast-to-coast to catch Rajon Rondo's shot at the hoop and set the tone for Game 5 of the conference finals. Unfortunately for the Magic, it was too little, too late, after they blew the first two games of the series at home.


17. Lakers vs. Celtics, Game 3: Fisher Goes Coast-to-Coast
No matter how bad his regular-season performance gets, Derek Fisher still seems to be able to rise to the occasion at big moments of the Playoffs, and Game 3 of the 2010 Finals was no different. Fish hit for 11 points in the fourth quarter of the Lakers' pivotal win, none more impressive than this play, in which he went the length of the floor and converted the bucket while taking the hit from three Celtics.


16. Suns v. Blazers, Game 6: Grant Hill Rejects Bayless
I guess we've reached the old folks portion of the program - first Derek Fisher, now Grant Hill. At the end of the first half of Game 6 of the Blazers series, Hill says, "No, no, no, young fella!" to Jerryd Bayless, with the impressive left-handed rejection at the rim.


15. Suns v. Lakers, Game 4: The Goran Dragic Experience
Suns guard Goran Dragic was one of the revelations of the 2010 Playoffs, a whirling dervish of effective spins, crossovers, pump-fakes and step-throughs - never prettier than this move which helped seal Phoenix's series-tying Game 4 win... and elicit the bizarrely riveting Robin Lopez celebration on the sideline seen at the end of the clip.


Of course, we can't let Dragic go without a quick highlight package of his truly shining moment of the Playoffs: Goran's 23-point fourth-quarter explosion which carried Phoenix over the Spurs in Game 3, a key moment in the Suns' exorcising of their San Antonio demons.


14. Lakers v. Celtics, Game 6: Farmar (Sort Of) Dunks on KG
OK, now we've reached the guys-sort-of-dunking-on-KG portion of program. First up, Jordan Farmar gets out in the open court and explodes at the hoop for the big dunk.


13. Heat v. Celtics, Game 6: D-Wade (Sort Of) Dunks on KG
Dwyane Wade gets extra points over Farmar for doing it in the halfcourt offense, after a nice crossover, and for catching KG a little more directly.


12. Cavs v. Celtics, Game 4: Jamison Dunks on Perk
Antawn Jamison slightly outranks D-Wade and Farmar by driving strong to the goal and dunking on Kendrick Perkins.


11. Celtics v. Cavs, Game 2: The Rondo Shake
The first unorthodox Rajon Rondo play to make the list, with more to come tomorrow. To any fan who dates back to the 90s, this one sure looks like a beautiful homage to Hakeem Olajuwon's Dream Shake. But as Rondo told SLAM: "I’ve never seen Hakeem play, never seen that move. I always do that move, and [KG] always tells me it’s the Dream Shake. To me, it’s the Rondo Shake."


• Also see: Plays of the NBA Playoffs, Vol. 2 (Plays 10-1)

6 Comments:

At 1:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

rondo is a arrogant little punk. Dream's move will never be called "the rondo shake." learn something.

 
At 5:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

He walks.

 
At 6:29 PM, Blogger Michael said...

Amazing. A budding modern superstar who has never seen Hakeem play, despite all the technology available to do so. What a generation. Simply amazing.

 
At 7:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope he is lying, no way he's never seen the dream.

 
At 7:07 PM, Anonymous Phil said...

Straight outta White Men Can't Jump... :o

 
At 9:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rondo never watched basketball. He was a football guy growing up. That's why he never watched Hakeem.

 

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