Lakers' Larry Nance Jr. annihilates Brook Lopez with Dunk of the Year candidate

Ball Don't Lie

Brook Lopez has long had a reputation as an offense-first center, thanks to the dual facts that he doesn’t post big rebounding numbers for a 7-footer and that he’s, y’know, very good at scoring inside. But he’s actually become a pretty good interior deterrent on the other end, ranking among the NBA’s top 15 rim protectors last season and sitting seventh thus far this season heading into Wednesday’s action.

The problem with being a pretty good rim protector, though, is that sometimes you meet up with a really good dunker. Larry Nance Jr. is a really, really good dunker:

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Our condolences to Chicago Bulls center Robin Lopez. No one should have to lose a sibling so young.

This isn’t the first time the Los Angeles Lakers power forward has run smack into a brick wall in the restricted area and just kept rising to finish with a flourish — Festus Ezeli can tell you all about those problems — but it’s still pretty damn bonkers to watch. He is his daddy’s son, after all.

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When you look at this photograph, I want you to remember that Brook Lopez is 7 feet tall, and that he was jumping:

Brook Lopez can’t believe that Larry Nance Jr. is still going up. (Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images)
Brook Lopez can’t believe that Larry Nance Jr. is still going up. (Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images)

As crazy as Nance’s leap looks in that still shot, and as it looked in real time, it looks even more ridiculous in slow-motion:



So, you can understand why Lakers teammate Timofey Mozgov, who had a front-row seat for the show (which, as he can attest, is far preferable to BEING in the show), reacted the way he did:

‘So THAT’S what it looks like.’ (Screencap via NBA)
‘So THAT’S what it looks like.’ (Screencap via NBA)

… and why Nance himself reacted the way he did:

When even you can’t believe you just did that. (Screencap via NBA)
When even you can’t believe you just did that. (Screencap via NBA)

… and why Lopez’s colleagues on the Brooklyn Nets bench had to work overtime to keep themselves from joining the party:



With all due respect to Victor Oladipo — and with some congratulations to Dwight Howard — I think we’ve got a new leader in the Dunk of the Year clubhouse, and I’m not alone:


Nance’s insane detonation was part of a 33-23 L.A. third quarter that sent the Lakers into the fourth quarter with a one-point lead, 76-75. Brooklyn would come back strong, though, outscoring Luke Walton’s club 32-21 in the final frame and holding the Lakers to 31.8 percent shooting in the deciding frame to earn a 107-97 win, sending the Lakers to their eighth straight loss. Lopez played a big role, scoring eight of his 20 points in the fourth to help Brooklyn snap a two-game skid and improve to 7-17 on the season.

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After the game, Lopez showed he was a good sport about the whole thing, briefly hemming up Nance — who finished with six points, four rebounds, three blocks and two steals in 19 minutes off the L.A. bench — before disengaging to laugh about it with noted basketball lover and Laker reserve Metta World Peace:


Brook wearing the whole thing lightly is a good look, of course. The look we’ll remember from this whole deal, though, is this one:

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Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don’t Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at devine@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter!

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