The 2014 NBA All-Star Game in New Orleans on Sunday featured all kinds of record-breaking performances, some fantastic music, an Eastern Conference win for the first time in four years and, of course, an awful lot of fantastic highlight-reel plays. The question is this: Which All-Star Game play was the 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 The 10 Coolest Highlights of the 2014 NBA All-Star Game Power Rankings.
Let's dig in and weigh in. And please remember, as always, that the list is the list.
10. Kyrie Irving whoopses an inbounds that leads to Chris Paul fancy-dribbling into a big Blake Griffin windmill.
WHY IT RANKS WHERE IT RANKS: Blake's windmill was certainly mighty fine, but we've seen that exact dunk from him — especially as served up by CP3 — plenty of times before. No, what made this dynamite was that Kyrie flubbed the inbounds and was immediately called out by one of his teammates, Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert:
9. Kyrie shakes his way into the lane, goes up with the left and makes Anthony Davis commit before lofting in the righty reverse.
WHY IT RANKS WHERE IT RANKS: Because while the move itself is especially nice, it really isn't very kind to fool somebody so badly in their own home city. C'mon, Kyrie. Don't be so mean. (NOTE: I am just kidding be this mean to everyone all the time it is great.)
8. Davis finishes a double alley-oop from Kevin Durant and James Harden with a one-handed reverse.
WHY IT RANKS WHERE IT RANKS: Because I'm pretty sure this would have gotten Magic, 'Nique and Doc to swipe their tablets and vote West during Saturday's "Freestyle Round." (No, for real: Put A.D. in the Dunk Contest. Please.)
7. Davis finishes off-the-backboard alley-oop from Paul.
WHY IT RANKS WHERE IT RANKS: Because, for a moment, it allowed me to dream of a day where New Orleans was ruled by two kings, Jables-and-Kage-style, who turned the Smoothie King Center into a benevolent land of on-time-and-on-target 'oops thrown by the best point guard of his generation and finished by a player who represents a future we don't yet fully understand.
I'm not sure if their dual kingdom would be called New Orlobs, Lobisiana or something else entirely. Perhaps it's best if we don't concern ourselves with that. We must leave something for the fan-fic authors, after all.
6. LeBron James goes behind-his-back, spins, goes coast-to-coast and finishes with his trademark right-hand tomahawk.
WHY IT RANKS WHERE IT RANKS: Because he can do all of this — all of this — and it just seems like a completely reasonable ho-hum thing at this point, despite the fact that he's Billy-in-Family-Circus-ing his way down a 94-foot long trail and weaving amidst All-Stars. Sure, they might not really be defending, but the simple act of the motion shouldn't stop seeming impressive just because it's familiar.
5. Stephen Curry throws an inbounds over-the-backboard alley-oop to a streaking Durant for the very loud finish.
WHY IT RANKS WHERE IT RANKS: Because when you didn't know it was coming, it hit you like a sledgehammer, and even after you do know it's coming, it's still perhaps the coolest use of "who gives a crap, let's try it" logic we got in Sunday's exhibition.
4. John Wall throwing down a fast-break double-clutch reverse two-hander.
WHY IT RANKS WHERE IT RANKS: Because — no shots — it looks just about as cool without G-Man, which I didn't think would be the case.
This also represents something of an all-around-achievement award for the Washington Wizards point guard, who appeared throughout Sunday night's festivities to be one of the dudes who honest-to-goodness wanted to play well, up to and including playing (some) defense. Wall scored 12 points on 5 for 7 shooting, grabbed five rebounds, dished four assists and snagged two steals in 15 minutes of playing time. Also, his mom seems to be doing better, which is awesome. Rest easy, John.
3. Steph breaks down Dwyane Wade, freezes LeBron by going between his legs to himself with the left hand and finishing with the scoop-shot floater.
WHY IT RANKS WHERE IT RANKS: Because after disappointing showings in the Sears Shooting Stars and Foot Locker Three-Point Contest, and a mostly cold shooting performance in the main event, it was about danged time that the Golden State Warriors point guard reminded us just how filthy his game is. (In a good way, I mean.)
Another look, thanks to TNT's pretty awesome Free-D camera:
2B. Carmelo Anthony feeding LeBron for the hand-switching alley-oop slam.
WHY IT RANKS WHERE IT RANKS: As my esteemed associate Eric Freeman wrote shortly after it happened, this is a picture-perfect instance of LeBron making the difficult — catching a lob, changing hands while ascending and hurtling at high speeds toward the rim, and throwing down an expressive and strong dunk with the left hand — look exceedingly simple. Also, Melo passed! And then he spun away in a sort-of-quarter-Starbury before looking back to make sure the highlight was finished! Great stuff all the way around, gentlemen.
2A. Kyrie leaves Dwight Howard.
WHY IT RANKS WHERE IT RANKS: Because, while no Brandon Knights were harmed in the making of this picture, this was the best one-on-one move of the night. And yes, of course Dwight isn't supposed to be able to guard Kyrie out there. That doesn't matter. This was water finding cracks in pavement and then getting all its boys together to form a tidal wave that busts open a dam. Especially in the second half on Sunday, Kyrie was the evil that men do with the sweetest of smiles, and it's the reason you (sometimes) tune into Cavaliers games even though they remain, seemingly inescapably, the Cavaliers.
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 Kyrie-on-Dwight, 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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