There will be some who argue this honor has belonged to Timofey Mozgov since the second Blake Griffin did whatever this is on Mozgov’s head. And there have been plenty of non-Griffin monster dunks, including Dwyane Wade’s destruction of Kendrick Perkins, complete with obnoxious and perfectly Heat-ian dance!
But to me, Gary Neal clinched Dunkee of the Year award when he got in the way of Tyreke Evans’ coast-to-coast And-1 on Wednesday in San Antonio. The carnage:
Diehards know the Evans flush is only the second-best dunk on Neal this season. This baby might be the Dunk of the Year:
There is so much great stuff in this clip: Kevin Harlan nearly combusts; Reggie Miller misidentifies Neal as George Hill; and a straight-faced Carmelo Anthony, perhaps realizing the cameras might pan to the Denver bench, decides he should stand up and pretend he was paying attention to the game and not thinking about what number he would wear on the Knicks.
By the way: I love dudes who are fine with getting dunked on. My favorite thing about that Wade dunk is that you know it won’t phase Perkins at all, and that Perkins will be right back at the rim the next time some superstar tries to claim it. And Neal isn’t too far on either of these plays from drawing a charge. He’s in the restricted area each time, but he’s right on the line. You could argue that the risk/reward calculus isn’t in Neal’s favor because it’s very difficult to dart across the paint in a split second to get into charge-taking position while one of the league’s best athletes is flying down the lane. Maybe it’s better to just get out of the way. But you have to admire the effort.