Any time you do a top 10, there’s never agreement. Lists are fairly arbitrary and subjective anyway, but regardless, here are in one man’s humble opinion, the top 10 plays/moments from this season:
10. Russell Westbrook tries to dunk on the entire state of California
This isn’t a great moment. It’s really not that memorable. And heck, Westbrook didn’t even finish the dunk. But to me, it’s sort of symbolic. Russ attacked Andrew Bynum with absolutely no regard for human life. He was relentless and aggressive. And that’s kind of the attitude we saw develop from this team in the postseason. They let it all hang out and despite not finishing on this play, it sent a message in Game 2 – the Thunder were here to play you, so get ready. But man, just LOOK at that elevation by Westbrook. His cram on Lamar Odom was amazing. But I think we’re going to get the ultimate poster from Russ soon. And I feel sorry for whoever his victim is.
9. KD takes over New York, at least for a night
We’ll see plenty more of these kinds of clips in the near future, but what made this special was the scene. This was maybe the biggest game at MSG all season. It was Tracy McGrady’s first game for the Knicks, people were buzzing about Kevin Durant, OKC was riding an eight-game winning streak and the house was full and energetic. And with the Thunder on the ropes, KD stepped up big time. He drilled a 3 to force overtime and then hit a mid-range jumper to win it for OKC.
8. Going Green against Boston
In terms of just the regular season, this may have been OKC’s biggest win. The Thunder were in the middle of a tough road stretch and some feared the young team might be slipping. Boston was playing well and with both teams locked in a playoff race, this game was important. As the game wore on, you saw the intensity pick up and up and up. This was the type of game you’d see OKC lose so many times. In it late, but just didn’t make the play, get the rebound, get the stop or hit the shot to win. This time, they did it all. Every time the Celtics scored, they had an answer. And Jeff Green’s answer(s) were the loudest. Back-to-back 3s to break Boston’s back.
7. Serge Ibaka must break you
AIIIIIIIIIIRRRRR CONNNNNGOOOOOOOOOOOO. As Mrs. DT can attest, when Ibaka followed up Durant’s miss with what I’m calling a destruction of the city of Toronto, I made a sound that only dogs can hear. Ibaka absolutely brought the house down with that. And I can’t get enough of Eric Maynor’s expression in the background. As Brian Davis called him, paging Dr. Nasty to the rim. Dr. Nasty, to the rim.
6. The Streak
This is very ESPN of me to include a large series of plays as a “Top Play”. But for a good two month stretch, KD’s streak of 25-point games really took over the conversation. He was encroaching on Jordan territory. And when it ended against the Spurs, we were almost relieved. We could quit worrying about every Durant jumper that didn’t fall and start thinking about the bigger picture again. But man, that streak was pretty special. And the cool thing is, I’d be willing to bet KD tops it pretty stinking soon.
5. Raking and taking
This play was just one of a number of awesome, inspiring, incredible plays from Game 4. But this one kicked off the whole beatdown, ignited the already ravenous crowd and showed off KD’s incredible set of skills. I mean, a between-the-legs cross on the fly, then one dribble and a flush? Are you kidding me? So consider this play the placeholder for the awesomeness that was Game 4. You could add Jeff Green’s save on his back, Westbrook’s no-look to KD for a dunk, the fast break drop off to Durant… Game 4 was just awesome.
4. Say Ah
I had a hard time not putting this No. 1. I watched this video close to 500,000 times when it first came out. And now that I remembered it existed, I’ve watched it an embarrassing amount of times just this morning. The shame is, we only got one more Broingtons video for the rest of the season. But Say Ah was definitely the masterpiece.
3. Uncle Jeff > Josh Smith
I love this play for two reasons: 1) It was the biggest play in a monster, massive win for the Thunder and 2) Because Uncle Jeff took it and crammed on the master of cram, Josh Smith. I almost like this Zapruder-style video better because you can hear the air come out of the building with Green flushes it. This was one of those games where OKC led almost throughout, yet you just kept waiting and waiting and waiting for them to lose the lead. And they darn near did, until Uncle Jeff saved them.
2. Harden to Westbrook and BACK to Harden
Ignore the fact this happened in late November against the lowly Washington Wizards. This play was just flipping cool. Harden steals and behind-the-backs it to Russ who over-the-heads it back to Harden for a huge one-hander. Boom, bang, BOOM. Other plays were bigger and happened in major spots, but this was just an awesome, athletic highlight. That’s why it’s No. 2. Some plays are just great, even if they didn’t come in a big spot.
1. The 8-0
Does this really need description? What a moment. What. A. Moment. Something I’ll remember being a part of for the rest of my life.
(Note: Two moments I didn’t include that were incredibly special: The airport arrival and the standing ovation. I tried to stick as close to “plays” as I could.)