With LeBron James coming to town in a few days, we use this week’s Throwback Thursday to take a look at one of the more spectacular blocks that you can witness.
Date: March 12, 2009
Place: U.S. Airways Center
Set-up: The Phoenix Suns trailed the Cleveland Cavaliers 97-95 with just less than nine minutes to go in the fourth quarter. The Cavaliers entered the game with a 50-13 record, while the Suns were a middling 34-31. The game was your typical Suns game during the Steve Nash era, a fast-paced, back-and-forth contest without much defense. That type of run’n’gun action led to one of the most awesome blocks I have witnessed in person.
Lebron’s block: The sequence starts off with LeBron James’ off-balanced three-point attempt that misses long. After grabbing the rebound, Suns forward Matt Barnes found a streaking Jason Richardson with a pass, leading to what appeared to be an easy two points that would have tied the game. Even though Richardson and James were guarding each other, Richardson was down at his own three-point line when he caught the ball thanks to a little cherry-picking. James, who followed through on his shot, had still not passed the halfcourt line when Richardson caught the Barnes pass. J-Rich got the ball, took one dribble, then went up for a 360 attempt. That gave a hustling James enough time to make up ground and swat Richardson’s shot while keeping it inbounds. The Cavs used the block to open up a Sasha Pavlovic three-point make, while Richardson complained of a foul and eventually got hit with a technical.
Aftermath: The play ended up being a six-point swing that the Suns could never recover from as they fell 119-111. Had Richardson laid it in or simply dunked it, there would’ve been no way James could have caught up to Richardson for the block. James ended up recording his third straight triple-double that night, but that game will forever be remembered for the remarkable effort LeBron put in to block Richardson’s 360 dunk attempt.