A bizarre thing occurred through the duration of Monday night’s telecast of the Cleveland Cavaliers and their home contest against the Indiana Pacers: The wonderful individuals at FOX Sports Ohio began tabulating how many dunks had been executed by each team. Dunks have become the go-to highlight for NBA fans; above-the-rim play is the reason why driveway-ready basketball hoops come with adjustable heights. But in the same, said shot type is worth two points. Kyrie Irving’s 416 field goals this season carry no less individual weight than any converted by Blake Griffin or LeBron James simply because Irving has only been credited with two dunks on the season.
Yet every time the Clippers come to town, someone — obviously fascinated by ”Lob City” — inquires as to who on the Cavaliers could replicate such a feat. And each time, Byron Scott is forced to say that outside of Alonzo Gee, his team is comprised of face-up players who thrive on ball movement and positioning rather than mid-air theatrics and exclamation point conversions. Nevertheless, as the Pacers recorded dunk after dunk — transition slams, a posterization of Tyler Zeller by All-Star forward Paul George — the ticker kept inching upward as if signaling that one team is better than the other simply because they had made physical contact with the rim more often than their opponent.