The regular season has wrapped and there were a lot of awesome plays, cool moments and fun times. The season’s really just beginning (how cool is it to be the kind of team that can say that?) but over the hectic 66-game schedule, the Thunder put up some pretty memorable plays.
Ten plays doesn’t capture everything from this season, especially when you’re watching a team that has the highlightability like the Thunder. Between KD, Russell, Harden, Ibaka and whoever else, the Thunder keep you on your toes. Something awesome could be coming at any moment.
So here are my top 10 from the regular season:
10. Russell Westbrook shreds Luke Ridnour’s ankles
Ridnour may or may not have actually tripped, but who cares. It looks like Westbrook completely destroyed his ankles, ACLs and the next three generations of Ridnour’s knee ligaments.
9. Swat Ibaka
Serge Ibaka had himself quite the season blocking shots. He finished with 241 total, putting him 106 ahead of runner-up DeAndre Jordan and 17 short of the New Jersey Nets. He had a triple-double, and two other double-digit block games. He stoned Deron Williams at the rim, stopped Nicolas Batum on a break and started his own fast breaks with halfcourt swats.
Westbrook’s smoking gun 3 holsters have become a fun little thing, but never was it as animated or awesome as it was at midcourt in Staples after Westbrook dropped a 3 at the third quarter buzzer. Standing statuesque and alone at halfcourt, Westbrook busted it out in an arena so silent after his dagger that could very clearly hear him yell “Boom!” as he holstered his six fingers.
7. Halfcourt Lob City
Westbrook’s dunk over Omer Asik was pretty outstanding, but the highlight of this game to me was the halfcourt oop from Westbrook to Durant. Not only was it an incredible punctuation to a blowout of the Bulls, but that kind of connection is impressive against anybody.
6. “Rus-sell! Rus-sell!”
Of all the chill inducing plays this season, this moment tops all. Westbrook had just gone through an 0-of-13 performance against Memphis and dealt with stories alleging him and Durant had an altercation. He started out against the Mavs in a huge rut, unable to make anything. But after an and-1 late in the second half, the Thunder crowd sensed it. They knew their guy was down and needed to be picked up. There are amazing fanbases, but moments like this is what separates Oklahoma City. For a moment, the arena, Westbrook and the Thunder were all united. Thunder fans were standing behind their guy, and they wanted him to know it. It really was truly an incredible moment.
5. Kevin Dagger
After a minor scuffle with Evan Turner in Philadelphia, a city known for its animosity toward opposing players (and even their own players), KD brought the ball up the floor at the end of the first half with an entire arena booing him. He stood calmly as the clock wound down, then drilled a cold-blooded 3 at the buzzer to completely silence the crowd. It was one of the absolute baddest things KD has ever done, and he has quite the resume of bad things.
4. Nick Collison puts back
Did I have to have somebody talk me out of making this No. 1? Yes, yes I did.
3. Heads up, Hibbert
Keep in mind, this was over 7-foot-3 Roy Hibbert. I repeat, 7-foot-3 Roy Hibbert.
2. Russell can fly
I so badly with I could somehow summarize how incredible this alley-oop was. It was… wow. It seriously looked like Westbrook boosted off the floor with springs or something. For that split second while the ball was in the air, I thought, “Dang it KD, another turnover.” And somehow Westbrook not only got to the ball, but he finished it. Wow.
1. KD sinks Dallas at the buzzer
Game. Set. Durant.