By Ben Golliver
While Monday night didn't produce much drama, at least we got two excellent poster dunks out of it. First, Bulls forward Taj Gibson got Hawks forward Anthony Tolliver, producing one of the liveliest play-by-plays calls you'll here. Then, Thunder forward Kevin Durant went way up and over Suns center Marcin Gortat to finish off Oklahoma City's fourth straight win.
With a little more than two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter and the Thunder holding a 94-81 lead, Durant used a hesitation dribble to beat Michael Beasley going to his left before coming back to his right hand to avoid the helping Gortat and to finish a flying dunk with one hand. Durant was knocked out of the air by Gortat so he didn't finish the follow through on the dunk; nevertheless, it went through and he drew the foul call.
He drew some post-game praise from the sheepish Gortat, too, according to the Arizona Republic.
“First of all I was looking for my keys underneath the basket,” he said. “I lost them over there.”
“I ain’t going to cry,” he continued. “It’s part of the game. I already knew what was going on when he took off. I didn’t even lift my hands. I just tried to get out of the picture or at least smile.”
“I ain’t going to deny; that was probably one of the top three dunks of the year,” Gortat said.
Durant finished with 41 points, five rebonds, two assists and two blocks in 43 minutes. Russell Westbrook added 36 points, eight rebounds, five assists and two steals. The Suns were led by 21 points from Shannon Brown; Gortat added 19 points and 15 rebounds.
Does the fact that Durant flung the ball into the rim add or subtract points in the Dunk of the Year conversation? Hard to say. Either way, if the guy he dunked on said he deserves to be in the conversation, he's in the conversation. Durant over Gortat joins a group that includes Gerald Henderson on Dwight Howard, Byron Mullens over LaMarcus Aldridge, Jeff Green over Al Jefferson and Harrison Barnes over Nikola Pekovic.
Video via YouTube user NBAVideoss247 | Hat tip: The Big Lead