Tag:Gary Neal
Posted on: January 29, 2012 11:08 pm
Edited on: January 30, 2012 1:09 pm
 

Jason Terry and the Mavericks' survival plan

Jason Terry helped the Mavericks survive against a Spurs bench run Sunday night. (Getty Images)

By Matt Moore


DALLAS -- The Dallas Mavericks, as much as any team in the league, know that this is not anything like a normal season. There are games packed on top of games packed on top of games. Dirk Nowitzki is still trying to get into his normal game condition, evidenced by his struggles in his first game back. The Kardashians are prowling the arena along with the realities of their television show, and have we mentioned the schedule is insane?

Those are just some of the reasons that led Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle to call this year, "wacky" after the Mavericks' 101-100 win over the San Antonio in Dallas Sunday night.

"It's a wacky year," Carlisle said, "and there's a lot of things going on with crazy scores and leads and deficits disappearing, so you've got to be ready for anything. We're fortunate, but it's a good win. "

Wacky. Much like this up and down win that did not come easy. The Mavericks held a strong lead in the third quarter, lead by Vince Carter who finished with 21 points on 8-15 shooting. But then, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who Mavericks guard Jason Terry later called "a mastermind" and who Carlisle called "the greatest coach really ever in this game," pulled his starters. Completely. With 2:12 to go in the third quarter. From there on out it was entirely bench players, and instead of a weak surrender, the trio of Danny Green, Gary Neal, and James Anderson poured in a flurry of lay-ups and three-pointers. The bench squad scored on 8 of 9 fourth quarter possessions to take the lead. Another blown lead in a wacky year.

"We gotta keep working," Carlisle noted after the game. "I love the fact that we came back from nine down in the fourth. It's a tough position to be in, but the guys fought and got it tied and in overtime we were able to get out of here."

"Getting out of here," that's probably the theme of the NBA season for almost all the teams caught in this hellacious compacted schedule. It's some sort of weird, mutant version of the age old cliche of "survive and advance." In this year with so many outliers, teams need depth, and they need pacing, and they need some luck. The Mavericks have had little of that this year, but having the kind of veterans they do gives them the experience to get through crazy games like Sunday's.

Compared to their struggles to start the year, the Mavericks recovered, played like World Champions, and finished off the non-stars in overtime. It takes experience, it takes veterans, it takes a mindset to "survive." Oh, and Jason Terry, that helps too.

"I was locked in," Terry said after he finished with a game-high 34 points on 14-23 shooting and 4 assists in 37 minutes.

His is always the second name on the Mavericks behind the Big German, but lost in the Lamar Odom trade and the free agency departures and the injuries is the fact that Jason Terry still wears Mavericks blue. And he's a survivor. Terry has made huge shot after huge shot for the Mavericks throughout the years and on Sunday showed why the Mavericks will keep learning, keep adjusting, and keep improving as veterans do even in a wacky year, and will be there at the end, when the playoffs begin.

"I watched the film [from the first meeting between the two teams] and there were some shots that I know I would make if I got them again," Terry said. "I said if I continue to get those same looks and opportunities that I'm going to be aggressive and take them."

It was Terry taking and hitting big shots along with the kind of consistent team effort on defense and the glass that got the Mavericks back in control. It was also players like Carter, who have been around long enough to make the plays when they need to, especially against an inexperienced crew like the upstart bench mob from San Antonio. Carter later said this season comes down to simple survival.

"That's what it's going to be about it. It's going to be about survival. Every guy on the team has to be ready to play, because you just never know."

What the Mavericks do know is that they have guys who have been there, done that. Other teams may have more youth, more depth, fresher legs and more wind. But does having the veterans in a season like this, even with the wear and tear on older bodies, help the Mavs in their mindset?

"I think so," Carter said. "And just making sure your young guys are prepared."

Carter complimented Roddy Beaubois, starting at point guard yet again for the injured Jason Kidd. "My hat's off to Roddy. It gets to where he's not playing big minutes, and he plays spot minutes and then he gets the start. To play like that, it gets a salute from me."

Veterans putting the young guys in a position to make plays, and Jason Terry hitting big shots when the Mavericks need them. If the Mavericks are going to survive this year, that's the approach they want to have. It's not about the division lead the Mavericks took Sunday night with the win. It's not about getting Nowitzki back into the rotation or worrying about blowing a lead to a group of bench players. 

This season is not about being perfect. It's about survival. And the Mavericks are as well prepared to survive as any team in the league.
Posted on: July 21, 2011 2:53 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2011 8:55 am
 

Durant to lead Goodman League against Drew League

Posted by Royce Young

You need basketball. I need basketball. We wouldn't have it now anyway, but the prospect of not having it at all next year is a terrifying idea. That's why people have taken an odd amount of interest in players participating in exhibition games overseas.

Well, now there's going to be a pretty significant streetball exhibition and it's happening in Washington, D.C. We told you there was a possibility of this and now it's pretty much definitely happening.

The legendary Goodman League is set to take on the legendary Drew League in a showdown taking place Aug. 20. (You can watch a stream of it here.) And the rosters aren't going to disappoint.

Kevin Durant leads the Goodman and joining him will be John Wall, Ty Lawson, Gary Neal, Tyreke Evans, Michael Beasley, DeMarcus Cousins, Josh Selby, Sam Young, Donte Greene and from the And1 Tour Hugh Jones, Emmanuel Jones and Warren Jefferson.

For the Drew, James Harden, DeMar DeRozan, Nick Young, Dorrell Wright, Brandon Jennings, JaVale McGee, Craig Smith, Pooh Jeter, Bobby Brown (Aris BC), Marcus Williams and three more players yet to be named.

Durant, of course, has been playing in the Goodman League at Barry Farms for a long time, kind of making it his second basketball home. It's sort of the place to be for good pro-am hoops on the East Coast right now. The Drew League has become the premier pro-am league on the West Coast. So it's only natural someone organized a showdown.

With a dark summer of no official basketball because of the lockout, you should be very, very excited for this. And there’s no doubt the Goodman has a major edge here. First, it’s in D.C. Second, look at that roster. KD, Wall, Lawson, Reke and Beasley are quite the core. Harden’s been tearing up the Drew (he scored 52 there a couple of weeks ago), but the Goodman roster is way better.

I mean, who the heck is guarding Durant? Dorrell Wright certainly will get the call, but the Goodman has a ton of speed. Of course, I'm hoping to see Harden on Durant for most of the game, for obvious reasons.

You can be sure this showdown will be awesome. And you can be sure I’ll be watching. You better be, too.


Posted on: May 11, 2011 3:27 pm
Edited on: May 11, 2011 3:46 pm
 

Griffin, Wall top NBA All-Rookie team

Blake Griffin and John Wall headline the 2010-2011 NBA All-Rookie team. Posted by Ben Golliver.

wall-griffin

The NBA announced its 2010-2011 NBA All-Rookie teams on Wednesday with 2009 No. 1 pick Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers and 2010 No. 1 pick John Wall of the Washington Wizards leading the way.
Griffin, who was selected first overall in the 2009 NBA Draft but missed the entire 2009-10 season due to injury (stress fracture, left knee), recorded a rookie-and team-leading 22.5 ppg (12th overall), 12.1 rpg (fourth overall) and 63 double-doubles (third overall). Griffin became the first rookie to average at least 20 points and 10 rebounds since Elton Brand (20.1 ppg, 10.0 rpg) in 1999-2000. A six-time T-Mobile Western Conference Rookie of the Month selection, Griffin became the first rookie to appear in an NBA All-Star Game since Yao Ming in 2003. 

Wall, a four-time T-Mobile Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month selection, ranked seventh overall in assists (8.3 apg) and steals (1.75 spg), and finished second among rookies in scoring (16.4 ppg).
The duo was joined on the first team by New York Knicks forward Landry Fields, Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins and San Antonio Spurs guard Gary Neal. The second team included Detroit Pistons center Greg Monroe, Utah Jazz forward Derrick Favors, Indiana Pacers forward Paul George, Minnesota Timberwolves guard Wesley Johnson and Los Angeles Clippers guard Eric Bledsoe.

Here's a look at both the first and second team rosters and how the voting broke down. 

2010-11 NBA ALL-ROOKIE FIRST TEAM

Blake Griffin   L.A. Clippers   58        
John Wall       Washington    57
Landry Fields   New York       56
DeMarcus Cousins  Sacramento 54
Gary Neal       San Antonio  44      

2010-11 NBA ALL-ROOKIE SECOND TEAM

Greg Monroe     Detroit  42
Wesley Johnson  Minnesota 26
Eric Bledsoe    L.A. Clippers  19
Derrick Favors  Utah  18
Paul George     Indiana 12

Other players receiving votes, with point totals (first place votes in parentheses): Ed Davis, Toronto, 10 (1); Evan Turner, Philadelphia, 12; Jordan Crawford, Washington, 12; Gordon Hayward, Utah, 7; Omer Asik, Chicago, 6 (1); Patrick Patterson, Houston, 5; Al-Farouq Aminu, Los Angeles Clippers, 3; Tiago Splitter, San Antonio, 3; Trevor Booker, Washington, 1; Christian Eyenga, Cleveland, 1; Ekpe Udoh, Golden State, 1.

A few notes:
  • Gary Neal was the only undrafted player to make either the first or second team.
  • Landry Fields was the only second round pick to make either the first or second team.
  • Evan Turner was the only top-5 pick not to make either the first or second team.
  • The highest ranked pick to not receive a single vote was Oklahoma City Thunder big man Cole Aldrich, who was taken No. 11 overall. 
  • Three other top 16 picks -- Xavier Hendry, Larry Sanders and Luke Babbitt, also did not receive a single vote.
  • Three members of the 2010 Kentucky Wildcats -- Wall, Cousins and Bledsoe -- found there way onto the first and second team.
  • The entire first team plus Monroe, Johnson, Bledsoe and Favors competed in the Rookie Challenge at 2011 All-Star Weekend.
  • Of the second team guys, Monroe has the best argument for inclusion on the first team. He started more than half of Detroit's games and was the lone bright spot on a pretty horrific season, posting averages of 9.4 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game. Still, Cousins posted bigger numbers -- 14.1 points and 8.7 rebounds -- and has the name recognition thing going for him.
Posted on: April 7, 2011 10:42 am
 

How the West was won by San Antonio

Spurs clinch top seed in the West. How the West was won.
Posted by Matt Moore




Not a bad way to finish a season you were expected to land middle of the pack. The San Antonio Spurs crushed the Sacramento Kings Wednesday night (while Tyreke Evans crushed Gary Neal in all sorts of dirty ways), and the Lakers dropped a bizarre game to the Golden State Warriors (their third straight loss, and so the Spurs wind up with the Z. As in the Z in the standings signifying they have clinched homecourt advantage in the Western Conference Playoffs. 

There are questions about the Spurs, let's be clear. This thing became a race down the stretch because San Antonio started to show some very real weaknesses, particularly on the defensive end. But now's not the time for that. Now it's time to celebrate the Spurs for one of their best seasons in history and Pop's work in turning a team that was ousted in the second round by the Suns last season into the West's top slot. 

The Spurs' offense really is a thing of beauty. It's not the constant-ball-movement, high-pace dervish that the Phoenix Suns were a few years ago, and in fact, it has slipped to third in the league in recent weeks. But it's still the very model of efficiency. It relies on individual players creating mismatches with ability, not necessarily athletic prowess, like Manu Ginobili's ability to slip between defenders and then whip passes to the corner, and Tim Duncan's ability to pass out of the low post to kick start rotations. If the defense remains set, they have playmakers to finish at the rim, like Tony Parker and George Hill. But if it starts to commit, the Spurs will punish you with a flurry of perimeter movement to find the open shooter. They have mainstays, like Tim Duncan's short game, and can hammer the glass with DeJuan Blair and Antonio McDyess

Richard Jefferson's perimeter ability has been a monumental reason for the Spurs' offensive up-tick. Jefferson jumped 12 percent from long range from last season, going from a 32 percent shooter to a 44 percent shooter. Much of this is attributable to his devotion to working out of the corner. Spurs' shooters have always made their money from there, and Jefferson finally bought in to that tactic. When he did, he found open look after open look. With his size and length, he's got an advantage on defenders trying to close, and he's lived up to the contract he signed this summer with San Antonio which was questioned. 

The Spurs have won their fair share of big games against tough opponents, with wins over the Lakers, Heat, Mavericks, Bulls, and Magic. They feature a deep and formidable bench with shooters like Matt Bonner, rugged frontcourt rebounders like Blair and McDyess (depending on who's starting), and George Hill is a nice change of pace guard. Rookie Gary Neal has come on and shown that even rookies can get minutes in Popovich's rotations. This may be a deeper team than some of the championship squads. 

But in the end, their hopes rest with the Big 3. Tim Duncan has said publicly several times this season that he knows his time is growing short. Manu Ginobili is no spring chicken. Popovich will only want to continue doing this for so long. And eventually the time will come for Peter Holt to trim down his expenses on a small market franchise. If this is the last ride for the Duncan-era Spurs, it will be the Big 3 that will have to carry them to glory in the face of the most loaded league they've ever had to battle through. But, quietly as always, this team has shown it knows how to win, and it's hungry for that fifth piece of jewelry. 

Yes, there are defensive issues, but the fact remains: this is the best team in the Western Conference in 2011, and if they hit that playoff gear, there's every reason to believe they'll be right there competing for the title deep in the playoffs.
Posted on: February 4, 2011 1:57 am
Edited on: February 4, 2011 3:02 am
 

The Game Changer: Magic don't have enough magic

Posted by Royce Young

Each game is made up of elements that help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the previous night's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what led to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer.  

THE BIG ONE: MIAMI HANGS ON TIGHT

With six minutes left, Magic fans started filing out. The Heat led 90-70 and appeared to be on cruise control headed toward an easy but big divisional win over the Magic.

Orlando, being a good team, wasn't completely finished. Jason Richardson hit a shot. Ryan Anderson hit a 3. Gilbert Arenas hit a 3. Then Anderson another one. The Magic hit six long-balls in the last six minutes, finally cutting the Miami lead down to three.

And after the Heat failed to get the ball in with nine seconds left, the Magic somehow had an opportunity to tie the game. Anderson got another look from deep by was just long on it.

What's interesting about the set though was how open J.J. Redick was coming off a Dwight Howard screen. Have a look:



Hedo Turkoglu instead went out top to Anderson which wasn't a bad play, seeing how Anderson was open. The difference is that the ball had a long way to travel to get to Anderson, meaning the Heat defense had a chance to recover. If the ball goes to Redick, it's catch and shoot. Easy to pick nits now knowing it didn't work, but at the time, everyone saw Redick flash open.

It's easy to look at how the game almost blew up in Miami's face, but in the end, the Heat won a game against a good Magic squad. They did it with incredible defense for 42 minutes, crisp offensive execution and oh yeah, LeBron James is still freaking incredible.

He started the game 11-11 which tied a career best and finished the game with an NBA season-high 51 points on 17-25 shooting. Just for fun, he added in 11 rebounds and eight assists. He owned this game. Just completely dominated it in every way he could.

And he did it from the start. LeBron scored 29 in the first half and after Dwyane Wade left for a while following a hard fall, LeBron just continued to kill the Magic. It's nights like this where you truly fear the Heat. I mean, how do you stop that?

MCDYESS DICES LOS ANGLES AT THE BUZZER

It was obvious how important this game was to the Lakers from the tip. They've been answering a lot questions, their general manager is talking about making trades and Kobe Bryant is a little extra chippy. And they had the league's best team in town and played like they had something to prove.

Problem is, they had the San Antonio Spurs in town and they don't exactly go down easily.

The Lakers thought they had it won three different times. With Los Angeles up 88-87 with 22 seconds left, the Spurs ran a great set but Manu Ginobili missed an open 3. Rebound Spurs. Tony Parker had the ball at the top of the key, made a move left and rimmed out a tear drop runner. Again, the Lakers didn't secure the rebound and the ball went out, off yellow.

And the third time indeed was a charm for San Antonio. Tim Duncan caught the ball, didn't get the hand off to Parker and had to force up a falling jumper over the extended hand of Pau Gasol. The shot was long, catching back-iron except for a fourth time, the Lakers didn't get on the glass. Antonio McDyess beat Lamar Odom and tipped in the game-winner as time expired. 89-88, Spurs.

The game had every feel of a playoff classic with both teams fighting tooth and nail for 48 minutes. Every possession was a complete grind. Both teams shot under 43 percent. The Lakers were playing like the game meant something more. And of course the Spurs brought it.

Read the rest of how the Spurs topped the Lakers at the buzzer here.

GO-GO-GADGET LINES

LeBron James had an NBA season-high 51 points on 17-25 shooting, grabbed 11 rebounds and had eight assists.

Dwight Howard had 17 points and 16 rebounds.

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute had 15 points and 19 rebounds against Golden State.

Ersan Ilyasova
finished with 23 and 13.

Gary Neal'S BUZZER BEATER WAS COOL TOO

Antonio McDyess's big tip at the horn is getting all the love, but how about Gary Neal's buzzer-beater at the half? You know, without it, McDyess's play might not have meant as much. Think about that one.


PARTING THOUGHT

Don't overlook Golden State's 100-94 win over the Bucks. Two things this showed: 1) The Bucks truly are a horrible offensive team, only mustering 94 points against the Warriors and 2) Golden State is just good enough to stay interesting for the rest of this season.

With Monta Ellis, Stephen Curry and David Lee, the Warriors have the players to be in every game, but obviously aren't totally ready to be a playoff contender. It feels like they aren't really that far off though.
Posted on: February 4, 2011 1:35 am
 

McDyess and the Spurs finish the Lakers late

Posted by Royce Young



It was obvious how important this game was to the Lakers from the tip. They've been answering a lot questions, their general manager is talking about making trades and Kobe Bryant is a little extra chippy. And they had the league's best team in town and played like they had something to prove.

Problem is, they had the San Antonio Spurs in town and they don't exactly go down easily.

The Lakers thought they had it won three different times. With Los Angeles up 88-87 with 22 seconds left, the Spurs ran a great set but Manu Ginobili missed an open 3. Rebound Spurs. Tony Parker had the ball at the top of the key, made a move left and rimmed out a tear drop runner. Again, the Lakers didn't secure the rebound and the ball went out, off yellow.

And the third time indeed was a charm for San Antonio. Tim Duncan caught the ball, didn't get the hand off to Parker and had to force up a falling jumper over the extended hand of Pau Gasol. The shot was long, catching back-iron except for a fourth time, the Lakers didn't get on the glass. Antonio McDyess beat Lamar Odom and tipped in the game-winner as time expired. 89-88, Spurs.

The game had every feel of a playoff classic with both teams fighting tooth and nail for 48 minutes. Every possession was a complete grind. Both teams shot under 43 percent. The Lakers were playing like the game meant something more. And of course the Spurs brought it.

Tony Parker was terrific, leading all scorers with 21, Richard Jefferson had 18 on 7-12 shooting and Duncan and Manu did just enough to get it done. This is the way the Spurs do things. You look at the box score and spend 15 minutes wondering how in the heck they won the game. They understand better than anyone what it means to get a key stop, a key basket or a key rebound. They win. They've mastered it as well as anyone.

On the Laker side, Kobe Bryant didn't shoot the ball well (5-18) but to his credit, didn't force things late in the game when his team needs points every trip. He did a great job creating good shots for Odom and Gasol, drawing the defense and making the correct pass. Kobe finished with 10 assists to go with 16 points and nine rebounds. He didn't play great, but did enough to get his team a win.

Gasol who has taken some criticism lately, played hard and played well. He had 19 points (8-10 shooting) and seven rebounds. He was a little more involved and locked in than he's appeared the past couple weeks. He definitely played with fire, but obviously it wasn't enough to stop Duncan and the Spurs.

In the end, it was about getting one stop to seal it. Except the Lakers gave the Spurs four chances.

It's still only February and Phil Jackson has already said he's not panicking until the playoffs. But you could see it after the officials confirmed McDyess got his tip off in time. The Lakers looked devastated. Pau Gasol hung his head, Kobe quickly exited the floor and the rest of the team just looked deflated.

They put a little extra into this game. They wanted to beat the Spurs and prove how good they still are. Losing by one on a tip isn't reason to hang your head in shame, but the Lakers still feel like they're searching for something. I'm convinced there's no reason to worry for this team (yet), but Thursday's game isn't going to make them feel any better.
Posted on: December 28, 2010 11:25 pm
Edited on: December 29, 2010 12:11 am
 

Spurs take down Lakers; is it worry time in L.A.?

Posted by Royce Young



From the opening tip, you could feel the intensity. This might've been a regular season game on Dec. 28, but it sure seemed like something you'd see April 28.

Two titans of the postseason were playing and even though it's just one more of 82, anytime the Spurs and Lakers hook up, pleasantries don't stay in the arena very long.

Kobe Bryant and George Hill tangoed in the first half, pointing fingers in faces and saying, um, stuff to each other. Ron Artest roped Tony Parker on a fast break for a hard foul. Andrew Bynum clothes-lined Tiago Splitter on the inside. Richard Jefferson and Derek Fisher had an exchange with Fisher picking up a technical after chasing Jefferson down to bump. Hard fouls, technicals, trash talk -- this one just had that extra umph.

But just like a classic Spurs playoff win, San Antonio used stifling defense, smart offense and big plays from role players to overwhelm the Lakers in the fourth quarter, beating the defending champs 97-82 in front of a sold-out AT&T Center crowd.

And here's where we go one of two ways: Is the story how well the Spurs are playing or if the Lakers officially in crisis mode?

Let me hedge here and say both. The Spurs are playing wonderful basketball. They're undefeated at home in December, own the NBA's best record and get something from everybody that steps on the floor. Tim Duncan was just 1-7 from the floor and scored only two points. Manu Ginobili went just 3-12 from the field. So naturally, since this is the Spurs we're talking about, someone stepped up.

DeJuan Blair was a complete difference maker scoring 17 points while also grabbing 15 rebounds. Gary Neal -- who you can just picture becoming Robert Horry in the postseason -- hit two huge fourth quarter 3-points to give the Spurs some serious breathing room. George Hill was entirely terrific on Kobe in the fourth quarter, frustrating the Laker star into turnovers, bad shots and some serious barking at the officials. And of course one of the San Antonio stars played big with Tony Parker pouring in 23 including 14 in the first half.

On the Laker side, things never really looked good. The Lakers almost seemed like the team desperate for energy, frantically looking for a spark. It was almost like they were rattled. Offensively, there was never any kind of rhythm. Especially in the second half where L.A. scored only 38 points total.

The Lakers shot 35 percent for the game and the man leading the charge there was Kobe. He went just 8-27 from the field for 21 points. Pau Gasol was 3-8 for only nine points. Lamar Odom was 3-9 for nine points. Really, L.A.'s best offensive player was Matt Barnes who went 3-4 from the field.

So again, good Spurs or bad Lakers? From my perspective, it looked like a game where the Lakers self-combusted a bit as Kobe kept shooting and shooting while a very good team in San Antonio took complete advantage of it. Take this game for L.A. and put it against Sacramento and the Lakers probably win ugly. But against the Spurs? You lose by 15.

That's not something that should sit well with the Lakers. Kobe has been pretty honest with his appraisal of the team, feeling at times that they don't seem interested or committed enough. And that's what really showed against San Antonio. Kobe tried to do way too much, the offense never ran through Bynum or Gasol and defensively, there wasn't ever any kind of urgency.

This makes three straight losses for the Lakers, all coming by double-digits. And while it seems like this might be a time to scratch your head, keep in mind, this is December, even if the game felt like it was in April. It's not time to worry... yet.
Posted on: December 16, 2010 11:31 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:38 pm
 

J.R. Smith dunks on Gary Neal, dunk of the year?

J.R. Smith of the Denver Nuggets dunked on Gary Neal of the San Antonio Spurs. Posted by Ben Golliver

Despite being a huge pain in the neck for Denver coach George Karl, Nuggets guard J.R. Smith has always been able to get up, but it's difficult to remember a time he dunked as viciously on someone as he did on Gary Neal of the San Antonio Spurs. With the first quarter drawing to a close, Smith dribbles the ball up court, shadowed by Spurs wing Ime Udoka. Using a lightning quick but simple right-to-left crossover, Smith penetrates the heart of San Antonio's defense, meeting no resistance. He takes off from outside the protective circle, powering to the rim with both hands. Neal leaves the weakside corner to slide over under Smith, but he rotates late, and Smith propels himself up and over Neal to finish powerfully with both hands. Smith then did a chin-up on the rim for good measure, as the Pepsi Center crowd in Denver went absolutely ballistic. Smith completed the play with just .6 of a second left on the clock and was awarded a free throw for his efforts.  Here's the video. Perhaps the funniest moment of the sequence occurs when the camera cuts to Smith's teammate, Carmelo Anthony, who is watching from Denver's bench. Anthony barely seems fazed, and nods almost as if he is bored.    With this effort, Smith likely put down the best non-Blake Griffin dunk of the year. I'd say this dunk belongs in the same discussion as Griffin's best. Here's a timelapse photo look at the dunk. jr-smith-dunk-gary-neal
 
 
 
 
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