I’m no dunk groupie. I don’t gasp and moan at ESPN’s daily highlights, the windmills and the behind-the-backs and all the other usual antics the film drones in Bristol manage to dig up (although I admire their diligence in finding them all, from the NBA on down to middle school games).
But what Blake Griffin did to Kendrick Perkins Monday night? I want the poster. I want the DVD. I want the movie rights. I want the Fathead. I want it as a screen saver. I would like it as a ring tone, even though it wouldn’t ring.
That’s Griffin’s best in-game dunk, and therefore his best dunk. Griffin’s dunk over the Kia at the All-Star Game a year ago was fun, but it was contrived, rehearsed, and done without a hand in his face — no, on his face, look at the replay, it’s not like Perkins did nothing.
And I loved it because it wasn’t done for show. It came naturally in the flow of the game, off a nice bounce pass from Chris Paul, who was acquired in part to do just that. In other words, it wasn’t a bounce off the glass to himself. (Ahem.) And it came against the best team in the NBA.
Griffin had a similar dunk against — or rather over, or upon — Timofey Mozgov in 2010; until now that was perhaps the most repeated video of Griffin. He gets higher in this one, his head tops the rim by several inches. (He said this time, his fingers touched the rim.) And he makes it look effortless.
Of course, none of this matters if the Clippers didn’t win. They did. It’s hard to imagine, but when the smoke clears at the end of the season, the Clippers may be the best team in Los Angeles. The Lakers beat them in their most recent meetings, but the fact that it wasn’t easy, and the fact that the Lakers are still looking for players (Gilbert Arenas?), says a lot about the state of this rivalry.
The night before, LeBron James literally hurdled John Lucas for a pretty sweet dunk of his own, but even he Tweeted that Griffin’s dunk was No. 1. He moved himself to No. 2; that’s quite a concession for a man who likes to be called King.
Of course, a dunk is still a dunk. It’s two points, no matter how jaw-dropping. And a dunk used to be something special; now it seems everyone can do it. In the winter, the Top 10 Plays on “SportsCenter” is literally littered with dunks. Which seems to cause more dunks, somehow — Top 10 Plays is the Johnny Appleseed of dunking.
All of which has sort of turned me off the genre. I have become fond of the well-executed alley-oop followed by the two-handed dunk, or better yet, just a nice, quiet drop-in. It’s more of a knife in the back (figuratively) than a hammer to the face. Sneaky. Disorienting.
But for the Griffin dunk, I’ll make an exception. I’ll watch that one over and over, despite the fact that I happen to root for the Thunder. For the all-star dunk competition, he should just submit that footage, like an Oscar contender, and wait for the voting. Because that’s the winner, right there. No props, no gimmicks, no practice. Just a demoralizing dunk in the middle of an important game between playoff-bound teams. That beats leaping a Kia any day.
More from Washington Post Sports:
Post Sports Live: The crew debates just how impressive Griffin’s dunk was