The Beyond The Baseline Staff Ranks the top moments in the year of 2017. Enjoy!
10) Paul Pierce’s tribute in Boston
18 years is a long time, and it felt only right that one of “The Truth’s” last games took place in Boston. The Celtics fans sure didn’t disappoint when Pierce’s name was called in the opening lineup. It’s incredible to feel the weight of 15 hard fought years in Boston embodied in a few seconds of applause and cheering, but when it does happen, it sends shivers down your spine.
9) Manu’s buzzer beaters
It’s no secret that there has been a changing of the guards in San Antonio with Tim Duncan retiring and Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili nearing it. However, we still see glimpses of greatness from these future hall of famers. Ginobili has been showing his clutch gene lately with two game-winning in the last month, a 3-pointer on December 8th against the Celtics and a layup to win versus Dallas just 8 days later. Yup, they still got it.
8) Celtics 16 game win-streak
It felt like a cloud was looming over Boston after losing Gordon Hayward in the opening game and starting the season 0-2. One of the favorites in the Eastern Conference, now the Celtics needed to find their identity in this new lineup. They stepped up in a huge way in what was my favorite moment of the year, winning 16 straight games and proving that Kyrie and the young core around him can win now despite the Hayward injury.
7) The Knicks and their disfunction
The 2017/2018 season brings some hope for New York, but it’s hard not to feel that way after the travesty that was the 2016/2017 season. Derrick Rose went AWOL, the front office banned legend Charles Oakley from Madison Square Garden, and Kristaps Porzingis was so fed up with the team that he skipped his exit meeting. There was plenty more to choose from, but I’m willing to leave the rest back in 2017. On the bright side, there will be no more triangle offense in New York.
6) KD clutching up over Cavs in Game 3
It looked like the Cavs were going to take their first game off of Golden State in the 2016-17 NBA Finals with about a minute left in the fourth. That was until Kevin Durant shocked Cleveland with a dagger of a 3-pointer and then iced the game with free throws to cap a 14 point final quarter. It was after this game that most knew the outcome of the finals, and regardless of which side you are on, this performance sparked the KD vs. LeBron debate that is still ongoing.
5) Bobby Portis sucker punches Nikola Mirotic
As someone who subjects himself to Bulls basketball, it would be impossible for me not to include this on the list. I expected a tank season from the Bulls which was certainly delivered with a 3-20 start to the season. However, I don’t think anyone expected literal punches to be thrown by the Bulls… at each other. Bobby Portis and Nikola Mirotic have never exactly gotten along, but things escalated in practice to the point where Portis took a swing at Mirotic, fracturing bones in his face and giving him a severe concussion. Good news is that Mirotic has come back since and is playing the best basketball of his career in Chicago. Hooray for happy endings!
4) Thunder vs. Warriors
Last season everybody called the Thunder vs. Warriors matchup a rivalry, but the heated arguments between Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant and the overhyped fans weren’t enough to counter the lopsided scores. This year, however might be different. The two teams faced off for the first time this season on November 22nd in OKC and the Thunder were finally able to beat Golden State since KD’s departure. With three more matchups left in the season and the Thunder finally playing on a more consistent pace, this could be the start of a great new rivalry.
3) Craig Sager Shootout Tribute
As an aspiring journalist, Craig Sager represents a near unprecedented record of quality reporting. He managed to make genuine relationships with not only players, but even the most abrasive of coaches (we’re looking at you Pop). He passed away in late 2016, but the NBA made sure his legacy lives on through a shootout at the 2017 All-Star game. The event helped raise over $500,000 for the Sager Strong Foundation. Hopefully this event becomes tradition as it’s a great way to make sure Sager’s amazing legacy is never forgotten.
2) 2017 NBA Offseason
My fifth favorite moment of the 2017 NBA calendar year would have to be the offseason prior to the current season. It is not often that I am enthralled by what happens when a major sport is on break, but I found myself almost as entertained hearing about the wild trades and offseason pickups as I did watching the season before. From Kyrie Irving and Isaiah Thomas, to Carmelo Anthony and Paul George, and Jimmy Butler and Chris Paul. There was also a slew of new talent entering the league with guys like Lonzo Ball and Donovan Mitchell coming up through the draft, along with last year’s number one pick Ben Simmons making his debut. The lead-up to this 2017-18 was definitely one of my favorite moments.
1) Magic reveal offseason plan by mistake
No one is confusing the Magic with the Warriors, but this type of “oops” doesn’t usually happen at the professional level. When the Magic signed Patricio Garino, his agent posted a photo with Orlando’s free agent plans listed behind him. The screwup only added insult to injury for another miserable season in Orlando. This is one of those stories that can be the end of a metaphor. Like when something stupid or unlucky happens to someone you can just be like "man, that's like the Magic tweeting out a picture of their free agent plans". The amount of laughs that this story gave me is countless and still on-going.
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Happy New Year!