Xavier Henry and J.J. Hickson know how to do defenses dirty.
In-game dunks are simply the best. We know this. They're unplanned and actually mean something to the outcome of a game, not part of a disappointing contest where choreographed jams often go wrong.
In two days, we were treated to a pair of ferociously similar slams from Henry and Hickson. They were thunderous, gravity defying and yes, something worthy of garnering an opponent's hatred.
J.J. Hickson Rises
First, there was Hickson's high-rising experience.
Against the the Utah Jazz, Hickson and Ty Lawson ran the pick-and-roll to perfection. After setting a screen on John Lucas III, Hickson found himself streaking toward the rim unimpeded.
Lawson hit Hickson with the bounce pass, at which point he was met by Marvin Williams, who was basically a sitting duck.
Give him credit for trying to contest the shot, but he didn't stand a chance. Once the 6'9" Hickson rose up, it was over.
His mid-air exploits weren't particularly explosive, but the height Hickson generated and reach he displayed on this stuff was impressive. So impressive, that Williams isn't likely to forget about it—though, not for a lack of trying.
Poor Jeff Withey
This was awesome. And a little bit cruel.
Shawne Williams bulleted a pass from the left corner into the hands of Henry, who was standing just beyond the three-point line. After catching it, Henry employed a pump-fake. Jrue Holiday was sold, and went flying past Henry as he tried to contest what he thought was a shot.
Recognizing that he had a wide open lane, Henry put the ball on the floor like has so many times already this season. Being the dedicated defender that he is, Jeff Withey stepped in and did, well, absolutely nothing.
Henry took flight well before he reached the restricted area; Withey didn't stand a chance.
The Staples Center erupted as Henry threw it down with the left hand, and rightfully so. The height, speed and aggression behind this dunk, it was all incredible.
I wonder if Withey will request an autographed copy of the poster.
The Winner Is...
Henry. Clearly, it's Henry.
Hickson had a hand in his face, but it was Henry who put his ridiculous athleticism to the best use. The speed he generated off beginning his foray into the paint from behind the three-point line allowed him to leave his feet before most would have cared to.
And that reaction; oh, that reaction. Los Angeles Lakers fans went wild, adding to the already earth-shattering atmosphere.
The basket shook, the rim rattled and Henry sent the poor soul who impaired his vision to the ground.
It was perfect.