Thu May 19 09:55pm EDT
Man, oh man, Brendan Haywood(notes). And man, oh MAN, Kevin Durant(notes). The official play-by-play should list the reason for the post-hammering technical foul that Durant picked up as "manslaughter." Or at least "cruel and unusual punishment." (He got it for taunting. And jeez, wouldn't you taunt after doing that?)
I didn't think Taj Gibson's(notes) two-hand, full-frontal dominance on Dwyane Wade(notes) would get any competition for the postseason's best dunk. I definitely didn't think a legitimate challenger would come in the same bleedin' week. Oh, NBA Playoffs. You always provide.
These were just two — a very, very emphatic two — of Durant's 14 first-quarter points. That early offense helped his Oklahoma City Thunder stay within hailing distance of the Dallas Mavericks amid a white-hot opening frame that saw the home team pick up where it left off in Game 1, scoring 31 points and taking a five-point lead into the second quarter.
Durant cooled down a bit after the sizzling start, finishing the night with 24 points on 11-for-23 shooting to go with four assists and three rebounds. So did the Mavericks, who shot just 40.7 percent as a unit after the first quarter.
James Harden(notes)? Not so much. The lefty sixth man with the giant beard and the Paul Pierce(notes) pace chipped in 23 points on 6-for-9 shooting and hit four big 3-pointers, playing a major role in helping Oklahoma City score a 106-100 Game 2 road victory. With the win, the Thunder evens the Western Conference finals at one game apiece and wrests home-court advantage away from Dallas with the series set to head to Oklahoma City for Game 3 on Saturday night.
Two nights after his near-perfect 48-point performance in Game 1, Dallas star Dirk Nowitzki(notes) came back to Earth a bit on Thursday night — but only a bit. Nowitzki scored 29 points on 10-for-17 shooting and added five rebounds and five assists in a losing effort.
After the jump: Take a closer look at Durant's full-on facial through the magic of pictures.
The original video up above came via our man @Jose3030, as does this screen-cap, which serves as sort of a first-draft of the inevitable poster and gives us a sense of just how ludicrously high in the air Durant got on this:
Man, oh man.
And this full-size shot, courtesy of the fine folks at Getty Images, offers the best visual evidence yet that Kevin Durant's got arms long enough to keep the Almighty at the end of a stiff jab:
Yep, that confirms it. Durant's dunk was amazing no matter which way you look at it.