Lauri Markkanen delivered a scintillating reminder of his existence on Monday night with the finest dunk of this young season. Over the course of his rookie contract, the Finn slid from an intriguing and mobile stretch-big to a single-purpose trebuchet for launching threes, which could be blamed equally on his constant injuries and his employment by the Chicago Bulls. But even as his game plateaued, he has remained seven feet tall and springy, and thus good for a punishing slam every few months. Now seeking grim redemption in Cleveland, Markkanen fulfilled his quota early in the season, scoring the Cavs’ first points of their 99-87 win over the Nuggets by flattening the MVP.
This angle does justice to Markkanen’s understated boast and, more importantly, Jokic’s heels-over-head butt slide.
We may now acknowledge the nickname that Chicago tried to stick on him: Fine, he’s The Finnisher.