Over the course of this week, Andrew Unterberger will be counting down the 100 best things (here are Nos. 100-61 and 60-41) that happened from opening night to the start of the offseason in the NBA year that was. Read on and live the greatest plays, games, photos, performances, celebrations, quotes, fights, achievements and fashion statements from the 2012-13 season, and begin counting down the long, lonely days and nights before the National Basketball Association is once again upon us.
40. Kobe Bryant over Kris Humphries and Gerald Wallace
If there’s a better combination of players to dunk over in the same dunk than Crash and Hump, I’m not sure what it is.
39. Wale vs. Matt Devlin
“And supposedly, this fan is a well-known local rapper … Wall-ay.” If we were still at the height of Wale’s sports-nerd phase, this would’ve gotten at least a full track’s response on “The Gifted.” (Ed. note: Close enough.)
38. Narrow dodges in Sacramento, Orlando & Cleveland during Heat streak
Nice of the Heat to let these teams all host playoff games in February and March. Might be a while still before a couple of ‘em are doing so in April and May.
37. James Harden scores 82 in first two Houston games
“Can James Harden be a first option on offense?” Took all of 96 minutes of game action to get an official answer on that one.
36. Darren Collison’s split-second buzzer-beater against OKC
Mavs lost the game, though.
35. The insane Mavericks-Blazers game
Mavs lost this one, too. Tough season in Big D.
34 Andrew Bynum’s hair
My favorite is still the British Invasion look. To each their own, though.
33. Joakim Noah in Game 7
Shoot off those finger pistols all night, young man. You earned it.
32. Stephen Curry sets the single-season three-pointer record
No. 58, 140, 227 and 272 are my favorites.
31. LeBron’s 30 point, 60 percent streak
Not a streak anyone’s likely to remember past this season, but a pretty solid reminder that LeBron is good.
30. Chris Paul’s game-winner vs. Memphis
I wouldn’t want to be that cameraman who bumped Tony Allen on the way to celebrating this one.
29. Joe Johnson crossing up Paul Pierce
What percentage of Nets practices next year is going to consist of Pierce subconsciously-not-subconsciously trying to get revenge on Joe Johnson for this one? Answer’s not 0 percent, tell you that much.
28. Birdman’s consecutive shot streak in the playoffs
Just getting tip-in layups, finishing alley-oops, slamming off the pick-and-roll — doing what country boys do.
27. LeBron high-fives Splitter (with a basketball in between)
It’s difficult to get posterized on offense, but Tiago Splitter found a way. LeBron helped, natch.
26. Heat-Spurs, regular season pt. 1
My old boss tried to argue with me that because the game was so close, it meant Stern wouldn’t fine Popovich for jettisoning his starters pregame. I was disappointed that 30 years with the Commish had taught him so little.
25. Jamal Crawford to Blake Griffin
Probably the best in-game argument for Doubles Slam-Dunking as an official All-Star Weekend event we’ve ever had.
24. Manu Ginobili’s Game 5
Does it make up for Games 6 and 7? Probably not to Manu, but like Bill Simmons said, he had already played his Super Bowl.
23. James Harden’s 46-7-6 against Thunder
James Harden’s first game against his old team? Didn’t go so well. Third time around? Little bit better.
22. Paul George vs. LeBron James, Game 2
LeBron simply would not be one-upped this postseason. Spoil sport.
21. Heat-Celtics Double-OT Sunday game, minutes after news of Rondo’s ACL injury
Watching this one at the time, I would’ve sworn it would end up the best game of the regular season. Finishing out of the Top 20 means we had a lot of really, really good games this regular season.
Check back tomorrow for Nos. 20-11.