With the regular season behind us, and over two months of playoffs to look forward to, GSoM will be publishing a few retrospective pieces commemorating some of the most memorable moments of the 2016-2017 season. For our first installment, I’ve taken the liberty of making (or finding) gifs of the plays and moments that stand out the most to me. Admittedly, the season is a little bit of a blur so I may have missed some, but without further ado – I’d like to take you on a giftastic trip down memory lane.
For this, part 1, I want to talk about my two favorite things from the season.
Draymond Green and his defense
As a guy who like to think I play a well-rounded game of basketball, defense has always held a special place in my heart.
To lead off, I want to take us back to November 2016, when the Warriors hosted the Atlanta Hawks. With the Dubs needing a couple of critical stops to seal the win, Draymond Green made two of my favorite blocks on the year.
First, he annihilated Shroeder’s drive. A blocked shot is already somewhat demoralizing, but in this play, we get to see the double bonus of a) ball getting blocked off of your face; and b) falling down and knocking the ball out of bounds so your team loses possession. Glorious:
Mere moments later, Green provided another block for the ages, this time showcasing the rare post-block double tap out against vaunted bench celebration expert Kent Bazemore. Again, not just stopping the play, but ending the possession (and sealing the win, in this case). And also again, it’s not just one play here, after the initial stop, he still pursues the play till it’s dead.
Switching gears now, I want to look at one of the other standout moments of Green’s season. Do you remember Green’s weird triple double? Four points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists and 10 steals in a 122-107 Warriors victory over the Memphis Grizzlies. It was the first time in NBA history a player recorded a triple-double without reaching double-digits in points.
Here’s a perfect summary of how he got those double digits: a block, the rebound, and then a perfect outlet pass.
We saw his versatility above, but forget all the different things he can do on the court for a second and let’s just look at his ability to predict a play before it develops. One last play that I remembered, he was covering Zach Randolph in the post, and sensed that the cutter was going to be open and saved an easy basket.
I believe it was Ron Adams who recently mentioned in an interview that he thought Draymond’s ability to anticipate plays defensively were just as magical as Steph Curry’s offensive brilliance. I sincerely hope that he wins DPOY this season, but no matter the outcome, we got to see a pretty special player this year, and for that, I’m thankful.
Crushing the Cavs
If I had to pick a central linchpin on which the season swung, I would go with the loss to the Cavaliers on Christmas day. An absolute gut-stomper of a loss after the Cavs overcame a 14-point deficit left a lot of us searching for answers. Thankfully, it wasn’t long before we faced them again. And I want to highlight that game for my second gif memory.
Going into the Martin Luther King day matchup we were anxiously hoping to avenge ourselves after a disappointing Christmas. Sure, it was at the end of a long road trip for the Cavs but the way the Warriors dismantled the Cleveland Cavaliers was a refreshing cool shower of kickass.
In particular, this block that Kevin Durant laid on Lebron sticks with me:
Durant is like Curry in his humble nature, but I think he almost HAD to start off looking up to Lebron, and probably uses these games against him as something of a measuring stick. Durant’s defense was big in a lot of our games, but the mental image of this one block are hopefully imprinted as deeply on the Cavs’ psyche as my own.
Ok, but after Draymond, you are probably sick of defensive gifs, right?
It was actually tougher than you’d think finding offensive highlights for this game. The Cavs were pretty checked out on defense, so a lot of the plays in the highlight videos are just various Warriors taking an open shot, like this.
I mean… you have to watch this closely to even notice that this next gif shows two discrete plays.
The Cavs have taken some flak for their defense this year (and rightfully so), I know the playoffs aren’t going to be easy, but it sure is comforting knowing that the basic cut plays we run can be so effective against some of the lazier Cavs defenders.
Or at least, that’s the memory that I’m choosing to hang on to!
Thanks for reading, and if you’ve made it this far, keep your eyes peeled for Season of Gif-ing #2 - a look at some of the funnier moments of the season!