To date, Denver's Timofey Mozgov is perhaps best known as an unwitting accessory to a Blake Griffin dunk. Yet that was only so because Mozgov had the audacity to rotate over to try to block Griffin in the first place. Shot blockers are put in such a position by the very nature of their role, as they so often stand as the last line of defense after a breakdown elsewhere on the floor has allowed an offensive player to charge toward the rim.
Sometimes that puts players like Mozgov on the receiving end of a massive slam, as was the case with the now infamous Griffin dunk. At others, it allows the shot-blocker to play the hero -- saving a play that otherwise could have ended in a highlight score. Mozgov did just that on Sunday, as he capped an impressive 15-point, 16-rebound performance by demolishing an attempted dunk by Toronto's Rudy Gay. In fairness, it's clear that Gay doesn't get his full lift after working to get by Denver's Darrell Arthur on the perimeter. Yet by the time he finds room for takeoff, Mozgov is in position to leap across the lane and meet him at the summit. The force of the impact on the ball -- and Mozgov's clear bump against Gay's body -- sent the Raptors forward crumpled to the floor.
Plays like this can't undo the fact that Mozgov was on the receiving end of a massive, iconic dunk, but hopefully they do offer some slight bit of redemption for a player who necessarily puts himself between potential dunkers and the basket.