Did Chris Andersen Posterize Lamar Odom?

Daniel McGowinCorrespondent IMay 29, 2009

Whoa now!  How is it that someone who dunked “all over” another human being can actually be the one who is “posterized”?

Well, let’s go over what happened in Game Five of the NBA Western Conference Finals involving the Denver Nuggets and the Los Angeles Lakers.

During the second half of that game, Chris “Birdman” Andersen was dunked on not once but twice.  First time occurred in the third period when on a three-on-one fast break, Shannon Brown brought the hammer to a back-peddling Chris Andersen. 

The second dunk occurred in the fourth quarter when Lamar Odom took what was essentially a drop-pass from Kobe Bryant and then threw it down over Andersen.

Both were indeed dunks “over” Andersen.  But sports talker Jim Rome and others made it sound like they were dunks that took Andersen’s manhood.  However, after watching video of the dunks, including multiple angles of the Odom dunk, I disagree. 

Both dunks, especially Brown’s, were run-of-the-mill type dunks.  So, let’s start with Brown’s. 

In the third, and off of a turnover, Pau Gasol gets the ball and begins to push up court with Brown on his right (not sure who was running on his left).  Andersen is the only one back so an excellent opportunity for the Lakers. 

A couple of steps from the three-point line, Gasol makes a pass to Brown, who catches it in stride just past the “elbow” and then gets around Andersen for the dunk.

Key part of the play is “gets around Andersen.”  It is not like Brown went over Andersen for the dunk.  He was simply too quick and exploded past the Birdman.  He is literally dunking “ahead” of Andersen who ends up attempting to block him from the side/behind.  It was poor timing by Andersen, but a great use of quickness by Brown.

Brown gets past Andersen to stuff it home (sorry for the low quality).

Now, this does not take away from Brown’s dunk and the impact it had on the Lakers as a whole, as well as the Staples Center crowd.  It energized that crowd in a tight game (and at a point where Los Angeles was down by five) and got things going for them. 

But it was NOT a posterizing dunk.  A good dunk.  But a typical fast break dunk.  Not even the third or fourth best dunk of that game!

The Odom dunk was a bit more vicious.  Up two and with possession, Kobe drives to the lane and drops it off to an eagerly waiting Odom.  Odom takes the ball, takes a step, brings it down on Andersen’s head.

Now, it was definitely an emphatic dunk over one of the top shot blockers in the Association.  And there is nothing that someone driving to the lane loves more than dunking on a player known for blocking shots.  But I have a problem with this example of a “posterizing” dunk.

Like I stated above, it is definitely a vicious dunk.  And, much like the Brown dunk, it was an energizing dunk that got the Staples Center rocking even more and Odom’s teammates amped up.  But there are a couple of problems I have with this dunk being a great posterizer.

First off, Andersen had little time to even react.  It is like "The Play" in the 1982 Cal-Stanford football game, where the Stanford band member had no clue he was about to get run over. 

The same thing with Andersen.  He initially set up to block Kobe.  With the nice drop-pass, Andersen was left out of position.  And like the trombone player, it was time to get bowled over!

Odom wasted little time dunking on Andersen.  And, if you watch the video, you can see Andersen begin to go for the block, but he is way too late.

The other problem I have is the push.  If you watch the dunk, Odom clearly uses his free arm to push and, basically pin Andersen down. 

Now, I understand that Andersen was in the zone underneath the basketball and therefore fair game for this sort of dunk (and the subsequent foul).  That is not the part I am disputing. 

My problem is that if you have to push someone and basically hurdle yourself over them to dunk the ball, then how can it be a posterizing dunk?  Anywhere else on the court and this move (forearm into the back) would be an offensive foul. 

The positioning of the players and where the play took place negated the potential foul on Odom, but it does not diminish the fact that Odom needed to push down someone in order to rise up!

Gee, I could dunk over someone if I could prop myself over them!

Look, I know using the free arm to "push off" is part of the game.  As someone who plays basketball recreationally, and as someone who takes pride in his shot-blocking ability, I have first-hand experience of the push off, and the subsequent jawing that goes on after the offending opponent makes a basketball. 

Even if it is a nice basket, the person still needed a push off in order to get separation from the shot blocker.

With Andersen and Odom, I saw the same thing.  Yes, it was a good dunk.  But the combination of the late reaction with the use of Andersen literally as a dunk prop, in my mind, demoted the dunk from a posterizer to just a good power dunk. 

Perhaps if Andersen was straight-up and prepared to block, and Odom still hammered if over the Birdman (without having to push him down), then it would have been a posterizer…even if there was a small push off.

If you want a good posterizing dunk, look at Tracy McGrady "sucking the gravity right out of the building" went he went over the Human Dunk Prop Shawn Bradley.  Even with the push, it was an awesome dunk because Bradley was prepared and still got posterized!

The only posterizing that really took place is what likely sparked Odom’s vicious revenge-seeking dunk. 

Towards the end of the first quarter, Kobe made a pass to Odom who had a clear path to the lane…with the exception of Chris Andersen.  Odom had a great look at it and Andersen had time to react. 

Had Lamar Odom hammered it home with a dunk like his fourth quarter one, then it definitely would have been a posterizing dunk that would have stolen the Birdman’s manhood.  As it was, Andersen rejected Odom and, in turn, posterized the Laker forward! 

It was Odom, not Andersen, who had his manhood taken and, in the end, sought to get it back.  So, I’d consider the two even!


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