Last night's Slam Dunk Contest may not have been the best in Slam Dunk Contest history — after Blake Griffin brought out the KIA everyone knew he was going to jump over, the reception went from "Wow!" to "Meh" in record time — but for density of awesomeness, it's going to be hard to beat. And it's worth the dunk-by-dunk breakdown, no?
DeMar DeRozan's East Bay Funk Remix: DeRozan, coached by dunking legend Darryl Dawkins, got to put a little spin on Isaiah Rider's between-the-legs East Bay Funk Dunk from the baseline with the East Bay Funk Remix.
DeRozan's version included a pass off the arm of the backboard from a Raptors teammate, took him several attempts to do, and earned him a 44 from the judges. It was underrated.
Serge Ibaka's free throw line dunk: Give Ibaka credit for stagecraft: between the NBA Africa backing for this dunk and the shenanigans that preceded his second slam, the Thunder big man was clearly trying to make viewers laugh. But this dunk deserved more than the 45 it got.
I believe Ibaka did this dunk in two attempts. He also jumps from behind the free throw line, which is more than some guy named Michael Jordan could say.
JaVale McGee dunks on two hoops: For sheer insanity, the Wizards' JaValevator won the night.
Yeah, dunking two balls on two separate hoops is ridiculous, maybe unfathomable, but it's even better than it looks at first glance. As ESPN's John Hollinger pointed out, McGee had to dunk the ball on the left hoop with his left hand while falling away — and without looking at the hoop. A well-deserved 50 gave McGee an early lead.
Blake Griffin's 360 cockback: It's not quite a tomahawk, and not nearly as tremendous as the 360 windmill he tried to do at first, but Blake Griffin's huge 360 slam deserved the 49 it got. (This is, however, where DeRozan and Ibaka may have realized they were being robbed.
DeMar DeRozan's "Showstopper": DeRozan's absurd up-and-under half-windmill, half-rock-the-cradle is one of the eight or nine most impressive gimmick-free dunks I have seen in my life. It earned a 50 and there's a reason most SB Nation readers think it was the best dunk of the entire Dunk Contest.
First, DeRozan has to gather the ball in the air off the huge bounce, then he has to get it over the rim — and himself under it — with one hand. And he did it all in one try! There wasn't a finer dunk last night, and at this moment, it seemed like this could be the best Dunk Contest ever. And yet DeRozan didn't make the finals, and the momentum evaporated. Such is life.
Serge Ibaka's teddy bear retrieval dunk: It's kind of inaccurate to call the toy Ibaka grabs with his teeth a teddy bear; it's actually a plush version of the Thunder's mascot. But if Ibaka had pulled this off on the first try — he sort of biffed the finish, despite pulling down the toy with his teeth — it might have earned better than the 45 it got.
My favorite part of the production? Cheryl Miller saying "Security, get him out of here!" after the kid got his toy back, and the security people picking up the kid to maintain the illusion of him interloping. Uh, sure.
Blake Griffin's two-handed alley-oop windmill: It got a 46, may have deserved less, and still got Griffin into the finals.
I blame Baron Davis, whose poor passing helped torpedo many of Griffin's first six attempts.
JaVale McGee dunks three balls: Not satisfied with a two-ball dunk, McGee enlisted the help of his mother — who gave Dr. J, one of the judges, a little sugar — to get a third, and put them all in one hoop.
He got a 49 for it, and led all competitors in the first round. But he also proved that two hoops and two balls is empirically better than three balls and one hoop.
Blake Griffin does the Vince Carter elbow dunk: What Vinsanity once did as a guard, Blake Griffin can do as a power forward.
As good as Vince's dunk? You be the judge.
JaVale McGee soars for the up-and-under reverse windmill: This dunk is superb, and not just because McGee has to duck under the backboard to prevent a concussion.
Need more proof of how impressive that up and under one-handed reverse windmill was? Check out this image of it, in which it barely looks possible.
Blake Griffin jumps over a KIA: What more can be said, really?
JaVale McGee ... just sort of gives up? This dunk, a catch-and-throwdown off the glass, has great amplitude and requires McGee to really get up, but is this any way to make a crowd forget the other guy just dunked over a car?
Griffin won the 2011 Slam Dunk Contest with 68% of the vote, and deserved it based on his slightly better final round. But Griffin shouldn't even have been in the final round, I would have loved to see DeRozan's final round ideas, and I think McGee squandered a chance at an enormous upset by burning his best dunk first.
Want to see every dunk from the Dunk Contest in one slick three-minute package set to Common's "A Dream"? YouTube user jumperlltonez has you covered: