A few days ago, I wrote an article that showed 12 of my favorite plays from the Mavericks this season. All twelve were made on the offensive side of the ball. A few MFFL’s in the comments kindly pointed this out to me and even suggested a few defensive plays they thought could’ve made the cut. I’ll admit that there were a few defensive plays I considered before the list narrowed. Yet when you’re looking at a team that was on pace for the most efficient offense ever and their defense was - to put it plainly - bad, it’s easy to focus on the firepower of this offense.
Today, as a man of the people and lover of good defense, I have written this article to show you some of my favorite plays on the defensive end, a lot of which are Unicorn blocks.
#12: Horford can’t shake Porzingis
Al Horford has been in the NBA for over a decade because of his abilities in the post, but those get lost in this play. After realizing he has nowhere to go, he tries to sneak one over Kristaps Porzingis as the shot clock winds down. You’re gonna have to get craftier than that Al!
#11: Powell swats Kennard
Hey look - Mexico City made it into this one too! Luke Kennard gets a fast break and smartly does a spin move. This makes it tough for Curry to defend the shot and eliminates the possibility of Luka blocking it from behind. What it didn’t do was remove the threat of a quickly approaching Dwight Powell.
#10: Delon Wright crunch-time steal
If the Mavericks won this game, this play would have been number one on the list. Regardless, this is good hustle from Wright who’s playing until the final whistle and gets the Mavs 3 points closer to a tie.
#9: Porzingis helps and swats Tristan Thompson
There are two kinds of plays I like to include on these lists: those that make guys look smart and those that make them look dominant. Kristaps is both of these here. He smartly slides over to play help defense, and also is dominant enough to give Thompson no chance at making this shot.
#8: KP denies Brown
Bruce Brown - I love the spirit, but this is what happens when you try to score over someone a foot taller than you.
#7: Kleber stops a cheap one
Lonzo Ball notices that Seth Curry has fallen behind Nickeil Alexander-Walker, so he throws a pass from behind half court. A pump fake from Alexander-Walker helps him avoid Curry who has a full head of steam, but it also gives Maxi Kleber time to come over and pin the ball on the backboard.
#6: Physics don’t apply to Unicorns
This block is a work of art. Seeing a mismatch, Morris backs down Tim Hardaway Jr. and tries to score in the paint. Unfortunately for him, the ball sits in the air just long enough for Porzingis to come over from backdoor and send it away.
#5: Finney-Smith blocks Lebron
Lebron attempts to drive on a 5 v. 1 break rather than setting up the offense. I’ll let you enjoy the rest for yourself.
#4: Kristaps denies a big bucket
Game situation! If that put back is made, it’s a one point game and the Bucks are still very much in the ballgame.
Porzingis recovers from not boxing out and makes sure it doesn’t come down to that.
#3: Meet Kristaps at the rim
Derrick Favors is a brave man for attempting to dunk on Porzingis. He really should’ve known this wasn’t going to end well though.
#2: Maxi chases down Fox
De’Aaron Fox is fast, but as he works the break with Buddy Heild he’s forced to slow down. The whole time, Maxi Kleber is chasing after the ball. By the time Fox puts himself in scoring position, it’s too late. Kleber slaps it off the rim and gets a block I could watch for hours.
#1: Zion’s Kryptonite
If you were to put any play from Kleber’s fantastic game defending Zion at number one, I would have no arguments. In this specific one, Kleber slows Zion down enough and allows Porzingis to catch up for them to get a cooperative block. This entire matchup was the defensive highlight of the season and a perfect place to end this article.
Did I leave your favorite defensive play off the list? Let me know in the comments and I’ll try my best to get back to you with a GIF!