What a busy weekend in the NBA. Particularly yesterday because Sundays usually only feature a couple of games on national broadcast and two or three more local games. That wasn’t the case yesterday as the NBA took advantage of a holiday weekend and had a total of nine games going on. Not only were the games impressive but they provided tons and tons of material for highlight reels. We’ll get to my favorite plays of the night but first lets take some time to analyze the games and the performances that defined yesterday’s victories. First, which team was the most impressive yesterday? There are plenty of candidates, one of which has to include my own Dallas Mavericks, who handily took care of the Thunder in OKC. But because Russell Westbrook didn’t participate, they can’t take the top spot. How about the defending champions? Using a furious 4th quarter rally to take down the Rockets at home? Well, I felt like the Rockets screwed that game up more than the Heat rallied. Houston made some bad plays late in the game and it was inevitable for a good team like Miami to capitalize on the mistakes. What about the Clippers or Spurs? Both teams took care of business and are looking every bit like contenders as we head into the home stretch of the season. Despite those things, neither team gets the nod because they were up against the Cavs and Jazz (respectively), two of the worst teams in the league. So how about the Warriors? Winning on the road against the Blazers behind some excellent play by the “splash brothers” and co. Yes, Golden State was the most impressive team yesterday. Remember, the Warriors had lost a couple of games in a row before yesterday and questions started to arise about whether or not this team was going to be make any noise in the postseason. Not only are they really exciting to watch, they’re also going to a be tough first round match up.
Now that we have the teams out of the way, let’s focus more on individual player performance. Naturally, the most impressive stat sheet of the night goes to the young Anthony Davis (41 pts, 21 reb) as he led the Pelicans to an overtime victory over the Celtics. Davis, who has been legally able to drink alcohol for only four days, continues to shell out impressive performances in his very young career. What’s his ceiling right now? It’s hard to say because predicting anyone’s career is impossible but personally, I can see him being an MVP caliber player with multiple first team NBA selections. Davis is getting most of the headlines but if they haven’t already, people need to start paying attention to Blake Griffin. No, i’m not talking about his highlight dunk reel plays. Griffin has completely stepped his game up during the second half of the season. Last night Blake was two assists shy of a triple double as he continues to lead the Clippers in overall play. It’s kind of a bummer that Durant and LeBron are other-worldly because if not for them, Griffin would definitely be a lock for one of the forward spots in the first team All-NBA. Quick shout out to Jeff Green (39 pts) because he gave his best effort for Boston and tried to offset Anthony Davis’ huge night. Let’s not forget Steph Curry because even though it was a combo “splash bros” performance, Curry’s 37 points were the bigger chunk.
It was tough picking a favorite play from yesterday’s games. The fan in me wants to say this dunk from Brandad Wright but it doesn’t compare to some of the others. I’m going with Steph Curry’s nasty crossover and finish because I’ve watched it the most times. But it’s also hard to argue with Patrick Beverly’s ferocious dunk over Bosh AND Birdman. Here’s the Top 10: