BEST OF 2012-13: THE FIVE NEW GUYS
The Clippers added five veterans during the summer including three via free agency and two via a trade with the Bucks and Suns. Darren Collison, J.J. Redick, Jared Dudley, Antawn Jamison and Byron Mullens all made highlight level plays with their respective teams last season. Here are five of the best:
5. Dec. 27, 2012 Dallas at Oklahoma City: Darren Collison
It was less than two months into Collison’s only season in Dallas when he made one of the more improbable last-second shots in recent memory. With the Mavericks trailing by three in Oklahoma City and 2.2 seconds to go, the ball is inbounded to Vince Carter. Carter can’t quite catch the pass and it ricochets off of his right hand back to Shawn Marion, who was a couple steps clear of the sideline. Marion quickly kicked it out to an open Collison waiting at the 3-point line on the right wing. In one 0.9 seconds Collison leaps, catches the ball and flings it towards the rim to tie the score at 102. After a lengthy review, officials deemed the basket good.
4. Dec. 26, 2012 Phoenix vs. New York: Jared Dudley
After several departures from the Suns over the last few seasons, including point guard Steve Nash in the summer of 2012, only Dudley, Channing Frye and Goran Dragic remained from the 2010 Western Conference Finalists. Dudley went from role player to one of the team’s leading scorers. On the night after Christmas, Dudley scored a career-high 36 points. Two of those came midway through the second quarter when he missed a mid-range jumper, but chased down Jason Kidd to steal the ball, drive past Steve Novak and fly in for a two-handed dunk.
3. Nov. 30, 2012 Lakers vs. Denver: Antawn Jamison
In Jamison’s first season in L.A. he played for the Lakers, finishing with career lows in minutes (21.5) and points per game (9.4). Still, there were moments throughout the season when Jamison thrived. He closed the season scoring in double digits seven of the final 12 games and putting together a solid March, averaging 13.2 points. His best game, though, came Nov. 30 against the Nuggets when scored a season-high 33, including five 3-pointers. Early in the fourth quarter, Jamison showed his knack for cutting off the ball as he sprinted down the lane before Pau Gasol even received the pass in the high post and winding up finishing with a twisting layup off a nice feed from his Spanish teammate.
2. Dec. 3, 2012 Charlotte vs. Portland: Byron Mullens
Mullens became known as a “stretch” big man in Charlotte last season, but showed surprising explosiveness early in the Bobcats’ home game against the Blazers. After missing a 3-pointer, Mullens tracked the ball down and jumped around All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge for a ferocious right-handed dunk. The play even caught Charlotte’s commentators off guard as well as the team’s bench. It certainly was one of the “wow” moments of his career.
1. Jan. 12, 2013 Orlando at Clippers: J.J. Redick
Oddly, one of Redick’s biggest plays from last season came against the team he would agree to a sign-and-trade with less than six months later. With the Clippers and Magic tied at 99, Redick curled around a screen from Josh McRoberts, ball-faked Matt Barnes to free himself and used a step-back 3-pointer to give the Magic a 3-point lead with 42.3 seconds to go. The lead would hold up and Orlando wound up pulling off the upset over the Clippers in Los Angeles. Of course, Redick would get dealt to the Bucks a month later.