Sunday's game was so good that this dunk didn't even make my top 5 plays list!
In chronological order, here are AugBball's top 5 plays from the Christmas Day instant classic between two teams locked in a rivalry unlike any we've seen since the Lakers and Celtics went at it in the 1980's!
The best sequence of NBA possessions since that from game 7 of last season's Finals, which started with Lebron James's block on Andre Iguodala and ended with Kyrie Irving's series winning three, came during this 15 second long 6 point streak which featured the world's two best players answering each other twice before anybody could catch their breaths.
This nifty Lebron James finish followed by a sprint-back-on-defense-block to close the half was the second Christmas day play (the first is above) that reminded of last season's NBA Finals classic moments, which included the lob James caught off the feed from Irving after James had gone to the floor to grab a loose ball.
No way basketball can be played better than it is being played by these teams in today's Christmas game. pic.twitter.com/FCPjVn5qEm— Chad Cook's AugBball (@AugBball) December 25, 2016
Speaking of reminders from last season's Finals, when Kyrie Irving tipped in his own miss after sticking All-NBA power forward/"death lineup" center Draymond Green deep beneath the rim, I flashed back to my wonderment at the genuinely unbelievable variations in which Irving can score, especially at his size, over ANYBODY who dares guard him without A LOT of help!
Finally found footage of Irving tipping in his own missing after sticking All-NBA power forward/"death lineup" center Draymond Green in hole pic.twitter.com/i1jXcEkcD9— Chad Cook's AugBball (@AugBball) December 26, 2016
I only have five places to fill, and the game's excitement is best illustrated by my NOT putting one of Richard Jefferson's poster dunks over Golden State's pair of All-NBA wings into my top 5!
I had to make room for Lebron James's baseline to baseline dash which left .3 seconds left on the third quarter clock. The human freight train inbounded the ball with 3.9 seconds remaining under his own basket, sprinted to get the shovel pass back from his teammate, and got all the way to the rim and drew a foul on an attempted dunk over Kevin Durant. All in 3.6 seconds!
The only problem is I can't find that clip! So I'll go with Lebron's go ahead dunk after the feed by Irving, who simply picked apart the Warriors down the stretch (And I have no interest in whether or not James should have been called for a technical foul. Other than I think it was right that he wasn't):
Curry gives up penetration and LeBron says Wait, I want credit for this win! https://t.co/nMmkvTUMua— BBALLBREAKDOWN (@bballbreakdown) December 25, 2016
Of course, the play of the game was Kyrie Irving's fade away over 6'7" Klay Thompson after Irving had created absolutely no advantage off the dribble but somehow still was able to make a shot over a guy with a height advantage of a half of a foot!
PS - Was Kyrie Irving the best post player in the game? In addition to stuffing Green beneath the rim and making the sweet fade away above, he made this sweeping hook over Durant.
Kyrie gonna get the game ball if they win for these 2 plays https://t.co/zOzF2ahenY— BBALLBREAKDOWN (@bballbreakdown) December 25, 2016
The things Irving did in last season's Finals and in today's game are every bit as awe inspiring as the things Curry did the last two seasons when most of us lost our minds watching him play!
What a game!