Monday's nine-game slate saw some laughers (Pacers by 16, Spurs by 24 without Tim Duncan on the second night of a back-to-back, Celtics by 15), some duds (a Kyrie-Rose duel that never materialized, a double-OT Raptors-Rockets game that was at times painful to watch, a Jazz-Nuggets tilt that, outside of one play, was close but not exciting until the fourth quarter, and then it was neither), one surprisingly decent contest (Hawks-Bobcats! Who'd have thunk it?) and a couple of legitimately good games (Detroit at Portland and Minnesota at the Clips, because screw you, East Coast). It also featured a handful of pretty rad blocked shots worthy of praise, attention ... and careful scrutiny.
The question is this: Which Monday block was best?
In the interest of providing guidance to BDL's readership in a trying time, I submit to a trusting public a new installment of Dan Devine's Inarguable Power Rankings, which identify which items in a group of things are most powerful. In this episode: Dan Devine's Inarguable Monday Night Blocked Shot Power Rankings.
Let's dig in and weigh in. And please remember, as always, that the list is the list.
6. Derrick Favors rotates over to reject J.J. Hickson.
WHY IT RANKS WHERE IT RANKS: It's solid, well-timed help defense by Favors, who leads the Utah Jazz in blocks but has seen the share of opponents' shots he sends back dip from a top-five rate last season out of the top 20 this year as he takes on larger responsibilities in the Jazz's half-court defense and works through some early-season struggles after signing a big new contract. Plus, it leads to a fast break layup for Richard Jefferson, who could've used one, seeing as how he'd gone 6 for 20 over his past two games. (He missed seven of his next eight shots, finishing 2 for 10 on Monday.)
But Favors had help here — namely from center Enes Kanter, who worked his way back in front of Hickson to force another pivot that gave Derrick time to slide over — and, y'know, J.J. got his revenge on the Jazz. Favors finished with 21 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks in a 19-point loss that pushed winless Utah to 0-8 on the season.
5. Roy Hibbert snuffs Ed Davis.
WHY IT RANKS WHERE IT RANKS: This is a more forceful and direct one-on-one annihilation — Davis takes the dump-off pass and faces Hibbert, two men enter, one man leaves, Thunderdome. It loses a bit of its luster only because we are now so very used to seeing the Indiana Pacers center destroy opponents' shots — he's got a league-leading 35 blocks in 235 minutes this season, which is more than 16 full teams. He's turning back nearly 11 percent of opponents' field-goal attempts while he's on the court; if he kept it up over the course of a full season, he'd be the first player to post a double-digit block percentage since Manute Bol in 1988-89.
He's doing a lot more than just blocking shots, too. He's anchoring the league's No. 1 defense, and its only defense allowing fewer than 90 points per 100 possessions, per NBA.com's stat tool. He's helping hold opponents to 42 percent shooting in the paint when he's in; they shoot 45.6 percent when he sits. He's serving as the primary deterrent that keeps them shooting more from midrange (where 36.8 percent of all field-goal attempts have come from when Hibbert's been in the middle) than near the rim (30.6 percent of opponents' shots have come in the restricted area). He's the kind of player who can score two points and still totally dominate a quarter, as he did in helping hold Memphis to 16 points in the first 12 minutes on Monday. And, as Davis learned in the third quarter of Indy's runaway win, he's the kind of guy you don't want to see at the high point of your jump.
4. Dwight Howard denies Rudy Gay at the rim.
WHY IT RANKS WHERE IT RANKS: This was the NBA/Turner's chosen Block of the Night, and it's really cool — stopping a dunk right at the top of a slasher's jump and sending it back is always a good deal. But, I mean, it's not like Rudy really needed help missing shots on Monday, what with the whole 11-for-37 thing. (On the plus side, at least Rudy now finds himself alone in the company of M.J.) It was one of a season-high five blocks for Howard, who also had 24 boards (his second 20-rebound game of the young season) in Houston's double-OT win.
3. Jeff Teague's chasedown block on Kemba Walker.
WHY IT RANKS WHERE IT RANKS: Because it rules when small guys block shots (shouts to Eric Bledsoe), because it rules when someone times a chasedown perfectly (shouts to LeBron) and because it rules when Teague reminds us that he's super, super athletic (shouts to, um, him). Also, because I'm a New York Knicks fan, and I'm still a little miffed at Kemba at the moment. If you're going to have kind of a rough night — and Teague did, missing 10 of his 14 shots and turning it over four times in 31 minutes — then it helps to make up for it on the other end with extreme prejudice. Always remember, kids: Never give up on the play.
2. Quincy Acy rejecting Dwight on the reverse.
WHY IT RANKS WHERE IT RANKS: Because Acy's a lot of fun and he doesn't get a ton of burn (just 27 minutes across two appearances in eight Raptors games this season). Because he is an undersized 6-foot-7 power forward who just completely erased a dunk attempt by a taller (albeit not by that much) center. Because while there are fine arguments to the contrary, it's still kind of fun to watch Dwight come up short on something. And because there wasn't any give here at all — Acy's hand goes straight through the ball, shoving it backward, rather than being taken back toward the rim by Howard's momentum. That is pretty cool.
BUT NOT QUITE COOL ENOUGH TO TAKE THE TOP SPOT:
WHY IT RANKS WHERE IT RANKS: Without electricity, none of the players would have had lights on in the arena to see the basket. Also, none of the cameras would have been working or able to record the moving images you see above. Also, none of our cable or satellite networks would have been able to transmit those images, and none of our televisions would have been able to receive them and broadcast them to our eyes. Once again, electricity proves itself to be the most powerful power there is.
And that, friends, is that. Electricity edges Quincy Acy, but JUST BARELY! If you would like to share your thoughts, or perhaps submit your own rankings, feel free to do so in the comments or via one of the social channels linked below. Please remember, however, that as always, the list is the list.
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