Top Plays
Top Plays
Top Plays
Top Plays

Top Plays Theatre: Ranking 2017-18's best plays

Khari Arnold, NBA.com

Mar 17, 2018 10:15 PM ET

In his fifteenth season, LeBron James dropped the hammer over Jusuf Nurkic.

(Mar. 17) -- Instead of the usual introduction paragraph to the countdown's latest addition, we'll simply go with a visual approach this time.

SHEESH!!! 🤦🏾‍♂️

A post shared by LeBron James (@kingjames) on

You can find video footage of this scene below, checking in at No. 5.

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1. The Greek Leap

Giannis Antetokounmpo showed off his mind-bending athleticism when he jumped over 6-foot-6 guard Tim Hardaway Jr. to finish a monster alley-oop. An instant in-game dunk classic.

 

 

2. Nance's Filthy Poster Frame

On the night Los Angeles celebrated Kobe Bryant’s jersey retirement, Nance Jr. received an ovation himself for this brutal slam. His extension was as full as Staples Center. His hang time felt just as long as the halftime ceremony. And his elevation had one wondering if he was, in fact, unveiling the two Bryant jerseys in the rafters. Kevin Durant’s idea of a transition rejection was costly as the Lakers forward unloaded a massive posterizing jam.

 

 

3. Russ Gets Furious

Russell Westbrook is known to bang on rims, posterize defenders and react energetically afterwards with a boisterous scream that ends in a mean-mug. This was all on display against Milwaukee late in the third quarter, but it wasn’t your average Westbrook highlight. He obliterated Thon Maker. The Bucks center stands over 7 feet tall and his slight mid-air shove to Westbrook only made it look worse. The slam was so wild that you can see one of Maker’s teammates rise up off the bench to make sure his guy was OK.

 

 

4. Clips Cross

Crossover of the year? Easily. The three-step process of putting his defender on roller blades, ruthlessly staring at him and drilling the 3-point shot (most important factor here) was one of the most disrespectful yet gratifying plays of the season, one that Wesley Johnson had to smile at himself.

 

 

5. Unbelievable Poster In Portland

By now, every basketball fan is aware this is year 15 for LeBron James. Coming to grasp with such reality, however, is still beyond difficult. Witnessing James’ slam in Portland -- where he destroyed the defending 6’11 Jusuf Nurkic -- only made the truth more hard to believe.

 

 

6. Wiggins For The Win

‘Carmelo In The Clutch’ was almost the headline. Instead, insert Andrew Wiggins, who caught the inbounds pass with 4.6 seconds left, dribbled just past mid-court and pulled up for the deep buzzer-beating jumper.

 

 

7. Block, Buzzer-Beater

James capped arguably the best game of the season with a fadeaway at the buzzer to lift Cleveland over Minnesota in overtime. To rewind a bit, the Cavs star swatted away Jimmy Butler’s attempt at a go-ahead bucket on the previous possession. A timeout with 1 second left set up James for a clutch jumper over Butler. 

 

 

8. King-Sized Bag Of Tricks

Three plays on the Top Plays Theatre countdown from one player? That’s certainly not common, but there’s a reason some believe the four-time Kia MVP is playing the best basketball of his career. His numbers have increased and so have his highlights. No one knows if this is what James truly meant to do, which is why it’s a little low on this list (even James said the replay surprised him). But in the end, the play was a success. Evading a double-team with a nutmeg of your own teammate after going behind-the-back is unheard of. By all accounts, this is Top Plays Theatre certified.

Watch >>

9. Portrait Mode

NBA.com’s Dunk HQ has a variety of scintillating dunks ranked. Typically, the style of slams we feature here at TPT are of the posterizing genre. One of the best facials of the season is courtesy of James Johnson. Victor Oladipo was a helpless victim and should hold his teammate accountable for biting on that pump fake. Nonetheless, pose for the flick!

Watch >>

 

10. Nuggets Tell Thunder Not This Time

After seeing Westbrook deliver the play of the year in Denver last season, it seemed appropriate that the 2017-18 campaign would provide another stunning finish. This time the home team got the last say at the buzzer. Before that happened, though, it seemed like OKC was on its way to another thrilling comeback victory in the Mile High City. Paul George drained a step-back 3 with 1.4 seconds left to tie the game for the first time after being down 20 at one point. But on the next possession, Westbrook lost sight of Gary Harris, who broke free for the buzzer-beater.

Watch >>


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