Last season, the NBA gave us some of the best basketball drama in more than a decade, but the recent lockout has sapped some of the league's momentum. Still haven't got back into the pro basketball spirit yet? Then check out three of STACK's favorite plays from the 2010-11 season, plus an explanation of the skills behind them.
#3: Javale McGee's Incredible Block
The Play: Portland's Wesley Matthews makes a nice move to beat his defender, but then runs into a brick wall—a.k.a. Javale McGee.
Why It Happened: Players giving help on defense often don't react quickly enough. In this case, though, McGee has a nose for the ball and moves over to block Matthews' shot. The best part: instead of swatting the ball out of bounds, McGee simply grabs it out of Matthews' hands.
Want to record more blocks this season? Work on footwork and explosiveness with this Jump and Sprint Drill.
#2: Dwyane Wade's Full-Court Alley-Oop
The Play: After rebounding an Indiana miss, D-Wade immediately turns and launches a full-court baseball pass to LeBron James, who finishes with an easy layup.
Why It Happened: Heat players are great at reacting to missed shots. Watch LeBron on this play. After challenging the shot, he takes off down the court and receives a perfect airmail delivery from Wade. Some may call it cherry picking, but Miami likes to run, and when they see an opportunity to get easy points, they take it.
Take some passing tips from LeBron himself to try to replicate this play.
#1: Blake Griffin's Monster Dunk
The Play: We saw this a lot last season: Blake Griffin embarrassing someone with a slam dunk. But our favorite was an early-season jam against the Knicks, which helped Griffin cement his status as one of the most exciting young players in the league. In this play, Griffin sets a screen, gets a pass and posterizes New York's Timofey Mozgov.
Why It Happened: Griffin sets a good screen and makes a nice slip to the basket, but the main reason Mozgov got mugged was Amar'e Stoudemire's poor rotation on the screen. Stoudemire makes a half-hearted attempt to stop Randy Foye coming off the screen and is out of position to defend Griffin.
Keep your legs fresh for strong late-game defense with Hill Sprints.
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock