BEST OF 2012-13: DEANDRE JORDAN'S TOP 5 DUNKS
Over the next few months, Clippers.com will continue its retrospective into the Clippers’ historic 2012-13 season. In addition, to our “A Season to Remember” editorial piece, video recaps, and taking a look back at each individual on the roster, we will also feature a “Best of” series. The third installment will take a look at the five best dunks of the season by center DeAndre Jordan.
In his fifth NBA season, and second as a full-time starter, Jordan led the league in field goal percentage (.644), subsequently setting the Clippers’ franchise record in the process. Out of his 310 field goals, 179, or 58 percent, came by way of the dunk. Only Dwight Howard (187) and teammate Blake Griffin (202) had more. Jordan’s dunks were violent, athletic, and show-stopping. You can critique his game overall, but as far as in-game dunkers go Jordan is clearly among the league’s best.
The following list was determined by the degree of difficulty of the dunk, public reaction and sheer athleticism. Here are the five best:
5. 11/7 vs. Spurs: Steal, Dribble, Slam
There are a few players in the league who make this play, moreover a 6-foot-11 center. Jordan pokes the Kawhi Leonard’s pass away, retrieves the ball at the “E” in “Clippers” at center court and uses just one dribble before flying in for swooping right-handed dunk. Add in the leg kick and the brief tongue wag, ala another Jordan, and the athletic play and finish is one of Jordan’s more memorable.
4. 2/11 at 76ers: High-Flying Follow
In a brief span in the third quarter in Philadelphia the Clippers unleashed a pantheon of dunks on the reeling 76ers. Griffin swapped hands in mid-air to finish around Spencer Hawes and Jordan followed up Griffin’s free throw miss with a two-handed slam. But the best dunk in the wild sequence came a few possessions later, when Chris Paul missed a 3-pointer from straightaway and Jordan came sprinting in from halfcourt to finish the play off with a furious dunk where he spun off the rim and nearly hit his head on the backboard padding.
3. 12/5 vs. Mavericks: Over-the-Shoulder, Through the Rim
This one is as much about Jamal Crawford’s wondrous pass as it is Jordan’s finish. Crawford drives baseline after the ball got tipped back to him on an entry pass. He dribbles behind his back, fakes a no-look pass and lofts the ball over his shoulder. Chris Kaman, who was dunked on earlier in the game by Caron Butler, switches to Crawford, leaving his former teammate open, and Jordan does the rest. He catches the ball with two hands and finishes with the right, leading to a Dallas timeout.
2. 11/2 at Lakers: Foot in the Net
Another follow dunk, another seemingly unreal result. It was only the second game of the season, but the Clippers set a dominant precedent against their city mates with a 10-point “road” win. Perhaps the play of the night came from Jordan, who followed Willie Green’s missed 3-pointer with a one-handed dunk where his foot touched the net. Jordan rose above Dwight Howard, caught the ball with his right hand nearly a foot above the American flag on the right of the basket, and threw it down with such force that his body rocked backwards. As he was falling to the court, his left foot kicked up and swiped the bottom of the net. With that kind of flexibility, maybe if Jordan were two feet shorter and a decade younger he’d have a future as a gymnast.
1. 3/10 vs. Pistons: The Dunk of the Year
It became a fableFans on CBS Sports’ website ranked it as the defending champion for more than three months in its “Dunk-O-Meter.” It’s been nominated for the “Social Slam Award” in the NBA’s annual Social Media Awards. UnderArmour released blue T-shirts emblazoned with “Show Me Your Dunk Face” with a caricature of Jordan curling his lip and furling his brow. And Jordan even recreated the dunk during an appearance on ESPN’s Sports Nation, leaping over host Charissa Thompson to dunk a mini ball in a trash can.
The play resonated on Twitter long after it was completed and needs little description or introduction. In case, you somehow missed it. Effectively Jordan catches a lob from Paul with Brandon Knight between him and the rim and effectively leaps over the contest from the undersized Pistons guard. Watch and enjoy all over again.
BONUS: 1/5 vs. Warriors, alley-oop from CP off back board
Considering the guy had 179 dunks, it was difficult to narrow it down to five (or even 10 for that matter). However, this one stood out because it came during a stretch of three-straight third-quarter alley-oops from Jordan in what amounted to a sort of get back game with the Warriors. On this one, Paul flips the ball off the backboard to Jordan who finishes with his requisite flair. Not long after, Paul found Jordan under basket for an alley-oop from near halfcourt, resulting in a 39-point lead, timeout from the Warriors and a long gaze from Mark Jackson as the teams headed to their respective benches.