No one with a vote for the NBA’s All-Defense team will look back on Nov. 6 as a memorable night for the art of the stop (or really, if you saw these plays by Toronto and Detroit, even make the effort to play defense). The space these defenses allowed Kevin Durant and JaVale McGee made the parting of the Red Sea look like the gantlet Kyrie Irving faced this summer by comparison, but it did open up the lane for a few of the biggest dunks of the night. Who did it better?
Durant took a pick-n-roll pass near the arc and simply filled the void Toronto allowed him. Jonas Valanciunas got the business end of KD’s ball pein hammer of a dunk over the top of him. As an aside, this is one of the developments in KD’s game I’ve been most enthusiastic about in the past three seasons: the rim-seeking missile mentality. Whether it’s his laid-back personality or proclivity to simply spot up from three, a reputation as a player more than willing to turn a defender into shredded beef at the rim took some time, if you ever thought it would arrive at all. One person to see this coming just fine was Valanciunas, who ducked out of the way.
The challenger is McGee’s trilogy against the Pistons. Or should I say, against air (looking at you, Andre Drummond). But just like Durant’s dunk, the finishes are so pretty on these three they stand alone by themselves. You have to respect the air shows even if there’s nothing positive to take away about the challenges the defense posed to McGee.
In this 3-on-1 contest, who did it best?
Whose display was better?
Follow Andrew on Twitter at @AndrewGreif.
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.