A.C. Green shares his favorite Laker dunks of the season
In between rounds, there was no point marveling at the dunks A.C. Green and I just witnessed.
We were part of a judging panel on Saturday for the NBA/Sprite Los Angeles Amateur Dunk contests at the Universal City Walk, and the first round consisted of either participants missing or endlessly imitating Spudd Webb's legendary lob bounce off the floor. So instead of picking Green's brain about what we just saw on the court, I thought I'd get his take on which Lakers dunks he enjoyed the most this season. Below are his top three choices followed by his explanations.
1. Kobe Bryant posterizing Emeka Okafor in Lakers' 106-90 Game 5 victory against New Orleans
Only a day earlier, the Lakers faced uncertainty on the severity of Bryant's ankle injury. He had hobbled off the court in Game 4, held postgame interviews in the trainer's room and made his way to the team bus on crutches. Yet, Bryant refused to take an X-ray or have an MRI exam, despite insistence from Lakers Coach Phil Jackson and the training staff, arguing it'd just waste his time.
It turns out, at least for one game, Bryant was right. His 19-point effort on eight-of-13 shooting included a dunk where he went through an opening in the lane and powered a one-handed slam over Okafor. The play prompted Bryant to roar, the bench to rise and the 19,091 fans at Staples Center to cheer.
"That's what really stands out for anything else," Green said. "It was the timing of it all, when it happened in the game and the attitude with it. The actual dunk itself, he had to go up and readjust because Okafor was coming at him face-to-face. So he had to adjust his body and glide over to the right. Basically, he had to hesitate, let [Okafor's] body pass his and then come down with it. Where I was sitting at the time, it was perfect. That's the kind that make you say, 'Oh yeah.' "
2. Shannon Brown's dunks
Green can't really pinpoint which dunk from Brown he liked the most. Whether it was his dunk where he switched hands in mid-air against New Orleans, catching an alley-oop lob from Steve Blake against New York or his reverse against the Clippers, Green recalled having the same reaction to each one.
"With Shannon, you just come to expect it," Green said. "It's one of those things where you expect him to pull something off athletic and crazy from a dunk standpoint. He gets up so high and goes after everything."
3. Ron Artest's reversal against the Clippers and one-handed slam over the Suns
Usually, Artest fast breaks entail him bobbling the ball, throwing up an ill-advised shot, or in the case of the Lakers' Game 4 loss to Dallas, allowing the rim to block him. But there are rare moments where Artest somehow manages to pull off something spectacular.
In the Lakers' 112-104 victory on March 26 over the Clippers, Artest surprisingly drove baseline past Chris Kaman for a reverse dunk in the second quarter and also had a one-hander on a fast break. Three days earlier in the Lakers' 139-137 triple-overtime victory over the Phoenix Suns, Artest stole the ball from Suns guard Steve Nash in the third overtime, drove for a fast break, finished with a one-handed dunk that gave the Lakers a 135-132 lead with 1:53 remaining and flexed and kissed his biceps afterward.
"Ron is the element of surprise," Green said. "You just don't know what you're going to get. When he does come and throws in a dunk, you never expect it. You know how you hear the crowd gasp when he pulls up for a three-pointer? It's the same feeling when he dunks the ball."
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