Kobe Bryant’s Baseline Windmill Dunk & Dominance Against The Wolves In GMS 5 & 6 Of The 2003 Playoffs
Every time I say Kobe Bryant is a top 10, maybe even top 5, game dunker of all-time, around people who aren’t legally allowed to buy alcohol, they look at me like I’ve been buying one too many drinks. But it’s true. Not me being intoxicated but Kobe being one of the greatest game dunkers of all-time. If it wasn’t for Vinsanity dominating Sportscenter every single night in the late 90s and early 00s, Kobe would have had more than one year of being the best game-dunker in the league…and people would have realized Tracy McGrady was a pretty good dunker too.
Young bald Kobe and Frobe was throwing down windmill dunks in games more frequently than Dominique Wilkins did in the 80s. He was throwing down more 360 dunks in games than any player not named Vince Carter. He was catching more reverse alley-oops than Shaq, Shawn Kemp and Scottie Pippen combined. He was also generating some of the nastiest posters of the decades — I’m still trying to get my favorite one signed by Ben Wallace.
That Ben Wallace dunk is what many consider to be Bryant’s greatest dunk. On most days I’ll agree. On other days, I’m probably picking this baseline windmill dunk over KG and his Wolves.
The dunk went down during the third quarter of Game 5 of the first round of the 2003 NBA playoffs. It was the most spectacular of the 16 third quarter points by Bryant, who just had a field day against guys like Anthony Peeler (did you know the Lakers tried to give the Hornets Peeler instead of Divac for Kobe?), Kendall Gill (did you know Gill almost joined the Lakers during their first championship season but ended up with JR Rider instead?) and Wally Szczerbiak (did you know he’s the only NBA player to ever share the exact same birthday as me ? March 5th, 1977!).
“Just taking my time,” said Bryant after the 30-point victory and his fourth 30-point performance (32) in five games. “There was no sense of urgency for me to really go into attack mode because my team was doing so well. In the third quarter, I saw an opportunity to really start being assertive.”
Game 6 was much of the same for Bryant: Game-high 31 points on 14 of 26 shooting to go with eight assists. But this time, the Kobe takeover quarter took place in the fourth instead of the third quarter. He put up 14 of his game-high 31 points in the first six minutes of the fourth quarter. During that spurt, Kobe outscored the Wolves 10-2 on five-of-five shooting.
“Kobe was phenomenal,” Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders said. “We doubled him and couldn’t keep him from scoring. That took the wind out of our sails and we had trouble scoring.
After the game, Kobe, with a giant bag of ice wrapped around his shoulder, had this amusing quote of the day: “It’s funny when people say they can contain Kobe. I can put the ball in the hole anytime I want to.”
Well, I’m not going to say the Spurs “contained” him in the 2nd round but I will say Kobe missed a hell of a lot of shots in the 2nd round losses and there was no round three for Kobe and the Lakers this season.