Ranking the Craziest Dunks of the 2012 NBA Playoffs

Greg SwartzCleveland Cavaliers Lead WriterJune 4, 2012

Ranking the Craziest Dunks of the 2012 NBA Playoffs

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    The 2012 NBA playoffs have been very memorable thus far, with some early exits from high seeds and some traditional powerhouses still in the title hunt.

    As fun as the storylines have been, we're going to take a closer look inside the games at the most exciting play—the slam dunk.

    The playoffs have certainly had their share of memorable dunks, with slams from players ranging from notable dunk artist Blake Griffin to the AARP-qualified Tim Duncan.

    Each dunk will be broken down by four categories: power, athleticism, creativity and intangibles. The highest combined score of all four will be named the best dunk of the 2012 NBA playoffs.

    Enjoy.

10. Vince Carter Thinks It's 2000

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    Situation: Vince Carter with the throwback dunk, Dallas Mavericks vs. Oklahoma City Thunder, Western Conference first round

    Power: 8

    Athleticism: 7

    Creativity: 6

    Intangible: 8

    Remember when Vince Carter did this all the time? Yeah, I miss those days too. 

     

    Total Score: 29/40

9. Caron Butler Dunks on Duncan

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    Situation: Caron Butler goes baseline over Tim Duncan, Los Angeles Clippers vs. San Antonio Spurs, Western Conference semifinals

    Power: 7

    Athleticism: 8

    Creativity: 7

    Intangible: 8

    A solid, athletic play overall, Butler goes back to his Wizard days to deliver this slam by first going around Tiago Splitter and then over Duncan for the jam.

     

    Total Score: 30/40

8. Iggy Messes with the Bulls, They Get the Horn

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    Situation: Andre Iguodala finishes fast break with power slam and foul, Philadelphia 76ers vs. Boston Celtics, Eastern Conference first round

    Power: 10

    Athleticism: 8

    Creativity: 6

    Intangible: 7

    A clear 10 for power—Luol Deng should have just gotten out of the way.  An extra point in intangibles for picking up the foul.

     

    Total Score: 31/40

7. Dante Cunningham Puts Blake Griffin on Wrong Side of a Poster

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    Situation: Dante Cunningham finishes Marc Gasol miss, Memphis Grizzlies vs. Los Angeles Clippers, Western Conference first round

    Power: 8

    Athleticism: 8

    Creativity: 8

    Intangible: 8

    Nice heads-up play by Cunningham, as he recognizes the miss and times his jump perfectly to dunk over Blake Griffin.

     

    Total Score: 32/40

6. Blake Griffin Gets Hacked and Still Dunks

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    Situation: Blake Griffin hard foul and slam, Los Angeles Clippers vs. Memphis Grizzlies, Western Conference first round

    Power: 8

    Athleticism: 8

    Creativity: 7

    Intangible: 9

    One of Griffin's more impressive dunks when you think about it, as he was hacked by two different Grizzlies before having to extend for the dunk. Landing on his feet earns an extra point for intangibles.

     

    Total Score: 32/40

5. Tim Duncan Turns Back the Hands of Time

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    Situation: Tim Duncan dunks on Serge Ibaka, San Antonio Spurs vs. Oklahoma City Thunder, Western Conference finals

    Power: 8

    Athleticism: 8

    Creativity: 7

    Intangible: 10

    Serge Ibaka is not only 14 years younger than Duncan, but he also led the NBA in blocks this season and made the All-Defensive First Team. For someone like Duncan who is vertically challenged at 36 years of age, this is truly an amazing dunk to attempt, let alone pull off.

     

    Total Score 33/40

4. Harden and Westbrook Team Up for Slam

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    Situation: James Harden with the alley-oop to Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder vs. San Antonio Spurs, Western Conference finals

    Power: 8

    Athleticism: 8

    Creativity: 10

    Intangible: 8

    The first and only alley-oop to make the list, this is what happens when two super-athletic, intelligent players are on the same page.

    Kudos to Harden to spot Westbrook cutting and for throwing a very dunkable lob. These OKC kids are pretty good.

     

    Total Score: 34/40

3. Durant Flies over Spurs

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    Situation: Kevin Durant gets some serious hang time, Oklahoma City Thunder vs. San Antonio Spurs, Western Conference finals

    Power: 9

    Athleticism: 10

    Creativity: 8

    Intangible: 8

    A super-athletic play by Durant, as he goes up with two hands and then switches to one mid-dunk to extend over Tim Duncan.

    Nice screen by James Harden; pathetic defense by Matt Bonner.

     

    Total Score: 35/40

2. Iguodala Punishes Paul Pierce, Celtics D

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    Situation: Andre Iguodala splits Celtics D for power dunk, Philadelphia 76ers vs. Boston Celtics, Eastern Conference semifinals

    Power: 10

    Athleticism: 9

    Creativity: 7

    Intangible: 9

    Making his second appearance on this list, this time Iggy makes his way through the better part of the Celtics team before haunting Paul Pierce's dreams with this dunk. An intangible point for the, "Yeah, I've done this before" look on his face at the end. 

    Well played, sir.

     

    Total Score: 35/40

1. J.R. Smith Goes All Dunk Contest Against Heat

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    Situation: J.R. Smith reverse pump dunk, New York Knicks vs. Miami Heat, Eastern Conference first round

    Power: 10

    Athleticism: 10

    Creativity: 10

    Intangible: 10

    The only dunk deserving of a perfect score, J.R. Smith easily wins best dunk of the playoffs and possibly of all 2011-2012.


    Total Score: 40/40