Posted on August 10 2020
There were more memorable moments in NBA history during the 2010s than you probably even realize. In fact, it's difficult to imagine how so many notable occurrences took place in a mere decade. Some of the biggest moments included the Cleveland Cavaliers championship drought being ended with the assistance of LeBron; the same happening for the Toronto Raptors courtesy of Kyle Lowery and Kawhi Leonard; a run for the ages in 2011 by Dirk Nowitzki; a revenge tour for the San Antonio Spurs; a half-decade dynasty for the Golden State Warriors… the list goes on. But not all moments in NBA history were as heralded as those just listed. Some smaller moments led to them that should also be noted.
So, for the moments that led to moments, those that have gone moderately unappreciated or unnoticed, we pay tribute…
Oh, the “Linanity”!
That is, Jeremy Lin. For the Golden State Warriors, in 2010 through 2011, 29 games were played by Jeremy Lin. Under head coach Keith Smart, the Warriors finished 36-46. His early numbers looked promising: 2.1 steals per game, 4.4 assists, 5.8 rebounds, 18.0 points in the G league. But in 2011-12, Golden State didn't put him on the court one single minute. In 2011, he was, in fact, released. The Houston Rockets signed him immediately following his release from the Warriors, but never played him. (Lin has played for eight NBA teams total.) Then the New York Knicks signed him in December, and suddenly, in February, Linsanity broke out! In February 2012 he played a prominent role for his team under Coach Mike D'Antoni. After being routinely looked over and let go, he finally got his moment in the sun.
April 2016 – Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant is undeniably an unmistakable name in the NBA. With a torn Achilles he threw free throws, pump faked, and somehow managed to look extraordinary. In a single game he scored 81 points. He helped to win five titles. Yes, he had some great moments. But one of his greatest, that may have been overlooked, was his finale of 60 points in a game. He had a ravaged rotator cuff, a previously torn Achilles, and had generally abused his body. In years past, his team had worked hard to get him the ball more than other players. They were, near the end, trying to give him fewer minutes on the court in order to take it a little easy on him. (He had gone from 28.4 minutes per game down to about 19 minutes per game.) But then, in 2016 against the Utah Jazz, he hoisted 50 shots and played for 42 minutes!
Kyle Lowery Trade Deal Nixed
Imagine how drastically the futures and fortunes of both the Toronto Raptors and the New York Knicks would have changed had the deal they were close to striking had gone through in December 2013. That deal traded a first-round pick and players for Lowery. But at the last minute, James Dolan (Knick’s owner) killed the deal. Possibly some trades that had gone badly in the past influenced him. He may well have wished for some hindsight, however, when Lowery ended up an all-time leader for Toronto. Possibly Toronto should send flowers to James Dolan.
2010 Finals – Seal the Deal
Sure, the 2010 finals victory for the Los Angeles Lakers over the Boston Celtics was contributed to in a major way by Kobe Bryant. No one will deny that. However, with seconds left in the game, Sasha Vijacic was fouled by Ray Allen. This happened at the precise moment that the score was at 81-79, Lakers. Had those free throws been missed by Sasha, he may not have sealed the deal and helped to win the game for the Lakers. (The Celtics may have had time and opportunity to tie or win, otherwise.)
Put Me Back in Coach!
In the history of the NBA, one of the best players is Tim Duncan. But for some reason, in the 2013 NBA finals, during game six, coach Gregg Popovich took him out after 47 minutes and 40 seconds. Against the Miami Heat in the prior five games, he had gone plus-29. With him off the floor, San Antonio was -12. Boris Diaw was put in the game in place of Duncan. What followed was an offensive rebound loss by the Spurs, missed shots by LeBron James, and overtime caused by a three-point shot courtesy of Ray Allen. In that overtime, Miami went on to win. The coach defended his choice explaining that things simply hadn’t gone as planned.
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