What Was Your Favorite NBA Moment in 2017?
The staff members of 16 Wins a Ring weigh in…
The 16 Wins a Ring team spent the last week looking back. We wrote about our favorite moments from 2016 — both NBA and personal — and we hyped our favorite breakout players. And now as we conclude the series, our team takes a look into the crystal ball.
It’s December 31, 2017, 16 Wins a Ring staff… what was your favorite NBA moment from the year?
I loved LeBron James and Kevin Durant going at one another through the 2017 Finals. It’s a matchup we always wanted to see since they first faced off as their slightly younger selves in 2012. Now both a little older, wiser, and (at least in LeBron’s case) acclimated to winning, they entered the series to provide a duel that really couldn’t be any better. More to the point, with LeBron facing an even more herculean task against these upgraded Warriors, an added battle against Durant gave us all the Finals drama we could ask for.
We’re nearing the halfway point in the 2017–18 NBA season and the start of the new year is right around the corner. The Wizards are sitting just two games back from the 1-seed Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference.
Why the Wizards? It’s all thanks to the acquisition of DeMarcus Cousins via trade in the summer, when the Wiz sent two first round picks, Marcin Gortat, and Otto Porter to the Kings — a longtime Wizards’ fan pipe dream finally come true.
John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins, the University of Kentucky stars, have finally been reunited and are tearing the Eastern Conference up! They’re the best threat to end LeBron’s seven-year NBA Finals appearance streak.
OKC manages to slip by the Jazz in the first round of the playoffs to create the Thunder-Warriors (I saw my figurine collection of these at my parents’ place over the holidays by the way) matchup we’ve all been waiting for. Russ goes for 52 in Game 1 to help OKC steal a 1–0 advantage, then puts up 43–16–12 in Game 3 with a game-winning shot over Durant on a switch to lead OKC to a 2–1 series lead. We all have a temporary glimmer of hope that the Death Star might be slayed, and Steve Kerr somehow has to start considering benching Steph Curry because he’s getting torched by Westbrook.
However, although OKC would eventually also win Game 6 after falling behind 3–2 in the series, the Warriors would win all of the other games, including the decisive Game 7 after which Westbrook falls to the floor in exhaustion and is unable to get up for two minutes. He would average 39–12–10 for the series, but it wasn’t enough, and the defining picture of the series is a prone Westbrook crying on the Oracle Arena floor after Game 7. Westbrook’s team technically loses, but he wins all of our hearts.
My favorite 2017 moment was watching the Bucks eliminate the Celtics in six games in the first round, a completely unexpected upset. That propelled Giannis into the national discussion as heir apparent to be the next transcendent star in the league.
My favorite moment was when Joel Embiid dunked on Draymond Green in the 2017 All Star Game. Green attempted to kick him in the groin on the ensuing possession but Embiid used a spin move only a generational talent could pull off and slapped Green on the butt before blowing a kiss to Rihanna in the stands.
Watching Kevin Durant hold both the Finals MVP and Larry O’Brien trophies was incredible. I don’t hate the Golden State Warriors or super teams, nor Durant for making a personal decision.
Had he stayed in Oklahoma City, it likely would have been a losing situation, where he was judged for being unable to bring a championship despite it being a reflection of group success. Going to Golden State was the best decision for him, and seeing his years of trying to reach this point and failing all wash away in a single moment of triumph was amazing.
The Warriors narrowly defeated the Rockets in seven games to advance to the NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers, an epic matchup, part III, and it was a show stopper. Golden State took the first game but dropped the next two in a row and seemed to be on the ropes against a LeBron- and Kyrie-led Cavs squad that couldn’t be stopped.
KD and Klay teamed for 71 in Game 4 to tie the series at two, and Steph did most of the heavy lifting in Game 5 to bring home the win for the Warriors. LeBron fought as hard as he could in Game 6, but it wasn’t enough as Golden State pulled out the win in overtime on a Durant step back that sealed the Cavs fate. The Warriors are NBA champs once again!
My favorite moment of 2017 was when Devin Booker scored 120 points in a game to break Wilt’s mark. Kidding. I loved the Giannis quadruple-double. That was epic. I’m serious, it’s gonna happen.
The highlight of 2017 was Nick Young hitting five threes on Christmas for the second year in a row, thus allowing me to leave at least that part of my NBA Days of Christmas song intact.
My favorite moment from this past year to to see the Golden State Warriors knocked out in the second round of the playoffs by Russell Westbrook and the Thunder. It was glorious to see Klay, Steph and KD with tears in their eyes. Draymond Green was suspended for Games 6 and 7 thanks to more nut shots.
I love it when underdogs are victorious!
For me it was when Miami made the 2017 playoffs as the 8-seed after that big trade at the deadline. After losing Dwyane Wade to the Bulls and having Chris Bosh ruled out indefinitely, then having to regroup with a new squad of Derrick Williams, Wayne Ellington, Luke Babbitt, Rodney McGruder and James Johnson, the Heat finished 2016 a dismal 10–24.
Well Pat Riley went ahead and did what he does best, finally catching that whale he was looking for in Kevin Durant during the summer of 2016. Shout out to all the members of Heat Nation who were riding the Tank Train.
The greatest player of the generation cemented his legacy with another title, once again defeating the Warriors even with Kevin Durant. Even at 33, James shows absolutely no sign of slowing down.
After a brutal March, Westbrook’s stats had dropped and the Thunder had fallen out of the playoff picture. The triple-double dream seemed dead. Westbrook sat at 9.6 assists and 9.4 rebounds per game with just three games left. He would need 61 assists and 76 rebounds to match the Big O.
We first started hoping again when Russ put up 45/16/19 in Denver. Two games left, 45 assists and 57 boards away. Up next: Minnesota. Wiggins went mano a mano, taking 52 shots and grabbing a career-high four rebounds, but Russ set the all-time guard record with 35 boards, at one point intentionally bricking six straight layups to pad his rebounding stats. A 62/14/35 night.
And so it came to the finale against the Nuggets. Westbrook would need 22 rebounds, 31 assists, and a lot of help from the home scorekeeper. You knew it was on when Russ jumped 14 feet into the air to grab the opening tip and fired an alley oop to Oladipo for his first assist, and it got even crazier from there. At one point Russ kicked Steven Adams in the face, stole a defensive rebound from him, and fired a 92-foot outlet pass for an assist. At no point in the game did Westbrook ever shoot the ball, eschewing shots for repeated passes off the backboard to set up teammates.
With 0.2s left, Westbrook sat at 0/30/24, one assist away from the ultimate goal (and Scott Skiles’s NBA record for assists but whatever), inbounding under the Denver basket. And that was when it happened. Westbrook Plinko’d the ball off Faried’s head into Murray’s elbow up off the back of Mudiay’s calf and as the ball rose in the air, Russ leapt from out of bounds soaring toward the rim, grazing the ball at its peak with a flick, and the ball dropped through the Denver net as the clock hit zeros.
The crowd went berserk as the Nuggets celebrated their 153–68 win and no one even noticed when Scott Foster waved off the final basket for Westbrook scoring on his own goal. So close.
The staff members of 16 Wins a Ring weigh in…16winsaring.com
The Celtics finally made the big trade to a deliver a superstar and it paid off in them upsetting Cleveland and making the NBA Finals before falling to the Warriors in seven games.
My favorite NBA moment of 2017 was the look on the Warriors’ faces when they knew the Cavs would become back-to-back champions. And it’s not because I dislike the Warriors, which simply isn’t true — they feature the two most fun players in the league to watch (Curry, Durant). But I loved their reactions and look of resignation on their faces because it’s the defining moment of LeBron James’ career.
I remember when Russell Westbrook collided with the rim and like six defenders (the NBA changed the rule in February during an emergency meeting to allow teams to defend Russ with six players on the floor).
As he fell to the ground after making the dunk, which was awarded an honorary seven points, he looked at his hand, twisted sideways under a 90-degree angle and smirked. He then twisted his hand into its proper position before twisting his skin off Terminator-style to reveal an exoskeleton made of no metal known to man.
That was three weeks before Galactus came and challenged Earth to a game of basketball. We cloned Russ and won by like 543. Anyways, my favorite moment is when Russell won MVP and then set a building on fire.