What a magnificent NBA season it’s been.
As we enter the playoff series it would be remiss not to look back at the 2011/12 NBA regular season and highlight its best plays. This year’s shortened schedule promised to be loaded with explosive action packed performances.
It is sure didn’t disappoint. It started at Christmas and in a flash we’re already on the cusp of the NBA Finals. Settle in, load up and enjoy, here’s the top 12 of 2012.
12. Kyrie Irving Spins For The Win In Boston
This man is the future of the NBA. The Cleveland Cavaliers’ number one draft pick had a phenomenal debut season. The rookie was consistently the Cavs’ best player.
This game in Boston was the highlight of the season for Cleveland, on the back of Irving the Cavs stormed home on a 12-0 run to stun the Celtics.
This unreal play by Kyrie was the match winner. Something very special from the very talented point guard.
11. Rudy Fernandez Tips It In On The Buzzer
What a sensational play from the Denver Nugget flyer. With seconds remaining in the half against the LA Clippers, the Nuggets hassle the ball up court but Corey Brewer is stopped in his tracks, he throws up the desperate lob from half court and Rudy Fernandez finishes it off with incredible poise and skill.
Very nice, very clever.
10. Russell And Kevin Get All Nasty
The Oklahoma Thunder’s All Star dynamic duo combine yet again.
This time the big man, MVP contender Kevin Durant finds his high flying guard Russell Westbrook with an immaculate alley-oop pass against the Sacramento Kings. It’s nasty. It’s sensational.
9. DRose Demoralises The Bucks
This was the only jump shot that the reigning MVP made against the Milwaukee Bucks that night but oh wasn’t it worth it.
Seconds ticking down, scores tied at 104 the superstar guard, left to his own devices did not disappoint. Twisting and turning, marvellously defended, this is as clutch as you’ll get.
Derrick Rose you star.
8. Fernandez Finds Kenneth Faried Who Monster Slams
It didn’t take very long for the Nuggets two new exciting signings to show off their bag of tricks.
Here the Nuggets manage the turn over at half court, Kenneth Faried knocks it on to Rudy Fernandez who without hesitation throws back an over-the-head, no-look pass which finds Faried who makes no mistake with the monster jam.
7. LeBron Jumps Over John Lucas For The Slam
Of course LeBron James has managed to sneak into the top plays of the season.
The MVP favourite has had a brilliant campaign highlighted by this statement he made against the Chicago Bulls.
In their first meeting of the season LeBron, as casually as you like, jumps over John Lucas III and connects with a Dwayne Wade alley-oop pass. Brilliant.
6. Jeremy Lin Arrives
No one may of have heard of Jeremy Lin five months ago, but wow do we know him now.
Easily the sporting sensation of the year, Lin took the NBA by storm in a burst of pure ‘Linsanity’.
Sure the highlight could have been dropping 38 points on Kobe and the Lakers or the series of game winning performances for the New York Knicks.
But here against Toronto, the stage was set, scores tied, the world watching, Lin delivered. Lincredible.
5. Blake Posterizes On Pau, Twice
The highlight package that is the Blake Griffin slam-cam continued to roll on in 2011/12. This time in the clash of LA, not once...
But twice he dunked all over Pau Gasol...
they call it. The big Spanish centre will still be having nightmares about what Blake did to him here. It was sublime and could easily have been number one on this list.
4. Melo Stuns The Bulls
Carmelo Anthony come up big at the clutch. In the critical clash with the Bulls at Madison Square Garden, Melo didn’t waste any time in draining this three to level the scores and send the game to overtime.
It was a special performance that wasn’t near over yet, as he went on to hit this over Luol Deng to give the Knicks a 100-99 OT win over the stunned Bulls.
Carmelo Anthony with a magical pair of monster threes at the clutch. He was red hot here, an unreal display!
3. Kevin Durant All Over The Nuggets
This play was reminiscent of Michael Jordan.
The reigning champion Dallas Mavericks led the Oklahoma City Thunder by one with 1.4 seconds on the clock. Enter Kevin Durant.
He finds some space receives the inbound pass, takes a step back and delivers a massive three from well beyond the arch. This was a huge moment in the context of these two team’s seasons.
A real KD special.
2. Gerald Green Launches Against The Rockets
In the year of magical dunks, Gerald Green’s effort against the Houston Rockets could easily have been this season’s top play.
After the defensive rebound and quick break, Marshon Brooks delivers Green the ball on a platter. With his head easily above the ring the New Jersey Nets’ highflyer does the rest with an incredible windmill slam.
Some will say it is number one, possibly even the Houston bench who were also very excited, but number two here.
1. Blake Sets The Tone For 2012, Smashing Kendrick Perkins At The Post
Blake Griffin set about destroying anything that stood between him and the ring in 2011/12, just ask Pau Gasol.
Here is was OKC Thunder centre Kendrick Perkins. Reminiscent of his posterization of Timofey Mozgov last season, Blake raises the bar with a dunk which stopped the nation.
He launces himself and simply finds a way to smash the slam. As he did here Chris Paul serves up delicious pass after pass for Griffin all season. Scary thing is Blake’s highlight reel is only just beginning.
This won’t be the last time he has the number one play of the year.
Did I get it right? Is Blake number one? How stiff is Gerald Green? Not enough LeBron and DRose? How about Kobe? What was your top play of the 2011/12 season?
Who is missing? Let us know in the comment section below.