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 last night’s (26 May) Nuggets-Lakers Western Conference Finals Game Five.
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 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. Off of a deflection, 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.
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 dunking loves more than dunking on someone who blocks 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 trombone player getting run over in the 1982 Cal-Stanford football game; that cat had no idea he was able to get trampled. 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 somewhat personal. 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 foul, but it does not diminish the fact that Odom needed to push down someone in order to rise up!
The reason it is “somewhat personal” is because as someone who takes pride in blocking shots in pickup basketball games, I have had numerous opposing players use that free arm to push off in order to get a shot off unblocked. I am not the quickest guy on the floor, but I have ridiculously long arms and have a good leaping ability. So, blocking shots is my strong point. Whenever I throw someone’s shot, the next time down I can guarantee that I am getting the forearm into the chest. Sometimes I can still manage to reach over and knock the shot away, and other times the other guy would call a foul on me! But occasionally the player would be able to make the shot. And then what happens? He starts jawing — “you can’t block me!” Well, of course not when you are pushing off!!!
With Andersen, 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 (which I admit is common and usually not called as a foul).
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!