Ever since LeBron James stuffed the life out of a Tiago Splitter’s emphatic dunk attempt in Game 2 of the NBA Finals, twitter has been buzzing about the play. Some still couldn’t get over the greatness of it the next day, some wanted to compare it to other great blocks of this postseason (Roy Hibbert’s block on Carmelo Anthony’s dunk attempt, in particular), while others downplayed the hype due to the fact that the block came while the Miami Heat had a comfortable 19-point lead in the fourth quarter.
On Monday, TNT analyst Steve Kerr chimed in, saying that it’s not even LeBron’s best block of this season’s playoffs:
So was the block against George Hill, in fact, more impressive than the block against Splitter? Lets compare:
I’m not sure why we have to dissect one great play to this extent, but since it has been such a hot topic, we’ll go ahead and do so. Which one is better? If we’re talking about impact of the respective blocks during the games, you would presumably have to go with the block on Hill due to the fact that it came while the Heat were down by four points at that juncture. Again, some have downplayed the importance of the block on Splitter, and the thinking behind it is that the Heat already had the game in the bag at that point. I suppose you could go down that road if you want to give the play as little credit as possible, but people should understand by now that a game against the San Antonio Spurs is never over until the buzzer sounds (Golden State Warriors fans can vouch for that one).
In terms of which block is flat-out better, regardless of the particular situation during the time period of when it happened? At the end of the day, they were both highly impressive, but clearly, blocking a 6’11″ center’s dunk attempt at the apex of his jump (while rotating a bit late to get a later jump than Splitter) right at the rim is much more impressive than blocking a 6’2″ guard trying to finish on a layup (while jumping almost simultaneously with Hill). I’m not really sure how one can argue in favor of the block on Hill, but perhaps Kerr is trying to play devil’s advocate on this one. After all, he did love talking about how D.J. Augustin is “deceptively strong” every time the guard “somehow” found a way to knock LeBron to the ground in the Eastern Conference Finals.