The Most Devasting Dunks of the 2012-13 NBA Season to Date
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With the 2012-13 season halfway over, it's a good time to revisit some of the most devastating dunks of the season to date.
Today's NBA is full of leapers and giants who play above the rim making for some of the most exciting high-flying action in professional sports.
While a vicious slam looks the same as a layup in the statbook, an emphatic rim-rocker can shift momentum, and work the hoard of fans -- and the Internet -- into a frenzy.
As you'll see in this slideshow, superstars, rookies and role players have all contributed their fair share of scintillating slams to the NBA's highlight reel this season.
The following dunks are listed in no particular order. If I missed any, please post a link in the comments section for discussion.
Harrison Barnes vs. Milwaukee Bucks
On this throwdown, Warriors rookie Harrison Barnes is on the receiving end of a slick pass from Stephen Curry and authoritatively takes it to the rim.
Ersan Ilyasova feigns effort defensively, but stopping Barnes once he got a head of steam would have resulted in Ilyasova hitting the deck hard.
Barnes has been a solid contributor for the Dubs during his rookie season, although he has seen his minutes cut a bit recently.
Kevin Durant vs. Phoenix Suns
Marcin Gortat, you just got Mozgav'd!
Kevin Durant didn't need to get much of the rim to put the Polish Hammer on a poster.
The Phoenix Suns center quickly realized he was in a no-win situation, although he wasn't able to get out of Durant's way in time.
Gortat was at least a good sport about it after:
“Listen, it happens. I am not going to deny that was probably the top three dunks of the year, right? I mean, at least, I am going to be out there. I mean, I am just going to try to be silly about it. I am not going to cry. It is just part of the game.
And for his efforts, Durant gets a few slaps in the head by his good buddy and enforcer, Kendrick Perkins. Thanks, Perk.
The Durantula ended up dropping 41 on the Suns back on Jan. 14.
DeMar DeRozan vs. Orlando Magic
The Toronto Raptors made a risky long-term investment in DeMar DeRozan, largely due to the athleticism he displays on this monster jam.
On the dunk, DeRozan drives by E'Twaun Moore before throwing down a one-handed flush with Moe Harkless trying to block him from behind.
His ability to rise and finish with authority in traffic is what lands him on this impressive list.
The jury on whether DeRozan deserves his lucrative contract is still out, although his ability to produce exciting plays is bulletproof.
Damian Lillard vs. Washington Wizards
Damian Lillard is the heavy favorite to win Rookie of the Year, and plays like this are a big reason why.
With his young legs, Lillard drives past the recently activated John Wall before dunking on the 6'11'' shot block-threat Nene in a breathtaking sequence.
Lillard's explosive drive and spring over a man that has eight inches on him is a sight to watch over and over.
In Lillard, the Blazers have their point guard of the future. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if Lillard entered into the discussion for the Western Conference's elite point guards within a couple of years.
Jeff Green vs. Miami Heat
You can't help but root for Jeff Green. After missing all of last season following heart surgery, it's great seeing Green return to doing what he does best. It's even better seeing him fly again.
On this dunk, Green shows off his speed and strength while driving past LeBron James. He shows off some serious airtime while doing his best Statue of Liberty pose.
To the delight of Heat Haters everywhere, Green puts Chris Bosh on what I'm sure would be a hilarious poster.
Green may be the most versatile player on the Boston Celtics, although he still has quite a bit of room for improvement.
With Rajon Rondo out for the season, the Celtics will need Green to take more responsibility on the offensive end of the court—and that could potentially lead to more plays like this.
J.J. Hickson vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
J.J. Hickson has been a revelation in the post for the Portland Trail Blazers this season, as he has been an absolute menace on the glass.
Against his former team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, Hickson put Alonzo Gee on a poster in an incredible display of hangtime.
On the dunk, Hickson takes a sweet pass from the aforementioned Lillard and uses his strength to fight through Gee in the air and score a couple of points for the Blazers.
Due to a subpar bench, Portland has relied on its starting five as much as any team in the league. Hickson was the biggest question mark in the starting five entering the season, but he has proven to be a consistent producer on the glass and inside.
Blake Griffin vs. Los Angeles Lakers
What would an NBA dunk compilation be without Blake Griffin?
The guy is an athletic freak, which makes all Los Angeles Clippers games must-see television.
This dunk symbolizes one of the most shocking changing of the guards in NBA history. Who would have ever expected the Clip Show to be L.A's darling, particularly at the beginning of this season?
And while Griffin soars to new heights with the Clippers, Pau Gasol has had two of the worst seasons in his career with a struggling Lakers team.
In his latest masterpiece, Griffin drives past Pau before throwing down a one-handed baseline reverse.
While the arrival of Chris Paul made the Clippers relevant, it was Griffin's arrival that put them on the map again.
Griffin is the most electrifying dunker in today's NBA and is already making his case as an all-time great flyer.
Jeff Green vs. Utah Jazz
Fear the Shamrock.
Jeff Green's back with a violent slam right on former Celtic Al Jefferson's face.
Green simply wouldn't be denied on this play, as he drove past Paul Millsap before cocking back and embarrassing Jefferson for the world to see.
It's dunks like these that make the NBA so fun.
Harrison Barnes vs. Minnesota Timberwolves
Remember that Harrison Barnes guy we showed you at the beginning of the slideshow? He's back. And Nikola Pekovic won't be forgetting him anytime soon.
On this play, the rookie from the University of North Carolina goes back door on the T-Wolves porous defense for a booming dunk that shook Oracle Arena.
This jam by Barnes is on the short list for dunks of the year through the season's first half and is a near lock to stay there.
Gerald Henderson vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Gerald Henderson almost jumped out of the gym to slam down this dunk over Dwight Howard.
There are a few things that make this gravity defying slam so mind boggling:
- Henderson has barely any lead up to build steam and momentum
- He jumps off of two feet
- His head is even with the rim at the height of his jump
- He throws it down Mozgov/Perkins style
- 3-time Defensive Player of the Year Dwight Howard is in his poster
Like Harrison Barnes' dunk against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Henderson's dunk is on the short list of dunks of the year.