NBA

Mason Plumlee.

Mason Plumlee hammers down the Dunk of the Night against the Dallas Mavericks

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Sunday might be a day of leisure for the majority of us, but one man that was going extra hard in the paint last night was the Portland Trail Blazers' Mason Plumlee.

The 26-year-old produced the dunk of the night after receiving a driving dish from Al-Farouq Aminu and he rose in the lane to tower over 7'2" Tunisian Dallas Mavericks center Salah Mejri.

Plumlee hammered down a powerful two-handed flush and it was a go-ahead basket in a tightly contested game that eventually saw the Mavs come out on top of their Western Conference rivals in overtime, 132-120.

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Despite Plumlee's dominant dunk, Dirk Nowitzki would steal the headlines as he so often has during his long and illustrious NBA career. The big German nailed 40 points during Sunday's affair to become only the fourth player in NBA history to score 40 or more points over the age of 37.

Who are the other three? Just Michael Jordan, Karl Malone and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. You might have heard of them.

Plumlee - who was picked 22nd in the 2013 draft by the Brooklyn Nets - has averaged 8.9 points and 7.7 boards in 25.4 minutes of action this campaign and has started all 71 of the Trail Blazers regular season games. Both of those statistics are career highs for him, too.

This is the first time the big man from Indiana has enjoyed a regular starting berth and as his stats edge closer to an average of a double-double, Plumlee's influence on this Portland unit has been palpable.

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Portland's rise

The Oregon-based franchise is lying in the sixth spot in a fiercely competitive Western Conference at present and much of the spotlight has shone on the backcourt of Damian Lillard and C.J McCollum.

Rightly so, in many regards. Lillard leads the team in points and assists this term and has appeared a man possessed since his All-Star snub back in February. McCollum has been earning widespread praise across the league too, leading many to speculate that he might be in with a shout for Most Improved Player of the Year award at the season's climax.

The 24-year-old shooting guard leads the Trail Blazers for steals this term and is dropping an average of 20.9 points a night in just his third NBA season.

Portland Trail Blazers v Indiana Pacers

Plumlee is another Trail Blazer in just his third NBA season, and his influence on this burgeoning unit shouldn't be underestimated either.

The 6'11" former Duke standout is the franchises' front-runner in blocks and rebounds this term and the balance he provides to the aforementioned pair of fleet-footed guards could be likened to Andrew Bogut's effect on Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors, within reason.

Either way, if Plumlee continues to clog up the highlight reel, the center's star is destined to shine as bright as his teammates sooner rather than later.

Topics:
NBA
Portland Trail Blazers
Northwest Division
Western Conference
Damian Lillard
Mason Plumlee

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