Looking back at the best and worst of the NBA in 2015

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NBA photos of the year
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Looking back at the best and worst of the NBA in 2015
A referee watches as Boston Celtics Kelly Olynyk (41) swings from the basket after dunking during the second half of a regular-season NBA basketball game in Mexico City, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)
ATLANTA, GA - MAY 03: John Wall #2 and Kevin Seraphin #13 of the Washington Wizards defend as Al Horford #15 of the Atlanta Hawks attempts a shot during Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2015 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on May 3, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 18: James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets reacts to a three-point shot against the Dallas Mavericks during Game One in the Western Conference Quarterfinals of the 2015 NBA Playoffs on April 18, 2015 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 11: Harrison Barnes #40 of the Golden State Warriors goes up against LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first half during Game Four of the 2015 NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena on June 11, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - APRIL 26: Dwight Howard #12 of the Houston Rockets grabs a rebound against Al-Farouq Aminu #7 of the Dallas Mavericks during Game Four of the Western Conference quarterfinals of the 2015 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Center on April 26, 2015 in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 12: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers fouls Joakim Noah #13 of the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on February 12, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Cavaliers 113-98. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 09: Langston Galloway #2 of the New York Knicks has sweat drip from his eye as he sits on the bench during a timeout against the Washington Wizards in the first half at Verizon Center on October 9, 2015 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 26: Glen Davis #0 of the Los Angeles Clippers controls a loose ball against Danilo Gallinari #8 of the Denver Nuggets at Staples Center on January 26, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. The Clippers won 102-98. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 14: R.J. Hunter #28 of the Boston Celtics dribbles against the Brooklyn Nets during their Preseason game at Barclays Center on October 14, 2015 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Washington Wizards' Marcin Gortat, center, of Poland, and Drew Gooden, left, battle for a rebound against Philadelphia 76ers' JaVale McGee during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Feb. 27, 2015, in Philadelphia. Philadelphia won 89-81. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
ATLANTA, GA - MAY 22: Tristan Thompson #13 of the Cleveland Cavaliers dunks against the Atlanta Hawks in the third quarter during Game Two of the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2015 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on May 22, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook hangs from the rim after dunking in front of Utah Jazz guard Elijah Millsap (13) during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Friday, Jan. 9, 2015. Oklahoma City won 99-94. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Toronto Raptors guard Cory Joseph, left, celebrates with forward Luis Scola, center, from Argentina, and center Bismack Biyombo after an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015, in Washington. The Raptors won 84-82. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Los Angeles Clippers forward Matt Barnes soars over a row of fans while going after a loose ball during the second half of Game 3 in a second-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Houston Rockets, Friday, May 8, 2015, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Washington Wizards' John Wall, top, fouls Philadelphia 76ers' Thomas Robinson during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Feb. 27, 2015, in Philadelphia. Philadelphia won 89-81. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Phoenix Suns' Eric Bledsoe lunges for a loose ball during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Toronto Raptors, Sunday, Jan. 4, 2015, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)
Orlando Magic's Keith Appling aims from the free throw line during a preseason basketball game against Brazil's Flamengo as part of the NBA Global Games Rio 2015 at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015. Magic topped Flamengo, 90-73. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
Utah Jazz's Trey Burke, center, shoots under pressure by Los Angeles Lakers' Ed Davis during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Thursday, March 19, 2015, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Philadelphia 76ers' Robert Covington watches his shot fall into the basket during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Denver Nuggets, Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015, in Philadelphia. Philadelphia won 105-98. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
The crowd cheers after Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) scored during the first half of Game 2 in a second-round NBA playoff basketball series against the Memphis Grizzlies, Tuesday, May 5, 2015, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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The best NBA photos of 2015


With 2015 in the books, it's time to take a look at the highlights and lowlights of this calendar year in the NBA.

The Golden State Warriors have dominated the conversation for most of the summer and all of the fall. But below, we dive deep into not only the most impressive, but most depressing honors of the year in basketball.

Best Moment: Klay Thompson's 37-point quarter


It's been an eventful 2015 for the Dubs, but while Stephen Curry has dominated the headlines as of late, it was fellow Splash Brother Klay Thompson who stole the show just over three weeks into 2015 on Jan. 23.

In a record-smashing third quarter against the Kings, Thompson shot a perfect 13-of-13 shooting to move the Warriors to 35-6 on the season.

Biggest Surprise: Warriors' 24-0 start

For Three: Warriors Survive in 2OT
These won't all have to do with the Warriors, we promise.

But if you claim to have expected Golden State to go on a 24-straight-win rampage to begin their title defense, you're lying. Even if you didn't by into the argument that luck played an overwhelming role in their title run.

Biggest Choke: Los Angeles Clippers



It's easy to forget unless you're a Clippers fan, but LA should've been the team to take on the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals last season.

With 2:16 left in the third quarter, the Clips led the Houston Rockets in Game 6 of the Western Conference Semifinals by 19 -- 89-70. They were then outscored 49-18 -- including 40-15 in the fourth quarter, to drop the game and be forced to play a Game 7 in Houston, which the Rockets won handily by 13, and the Clips were sent packing.


Biggest Flop: Joel Embiid



The 76ers' third-overall selection in the 2014 NBA draft, Joel Embiid missed the entirety of the 2014-15 NBA season after undergoing foot surgery. In a lost season, this was more or less fine -- so long as he recovered in time to play the following year with Nerlens Noel and a draft pick that turned out to be Jahlil Okafor.

But then, it happened again.

Another foot surgery will likely sideline him for the second year of his rookie contract. One of the most intriguing prospects of his draft class is still yet to play an NBA game, and likely won't until October 2016 at the very earliest.

Funniest Quote: Gregg Popovich



Sure, Pop. Sure.

Best Vine: Steve Ballmer



With a special honorable mention to Stan Van Gundy (Caution: NSFW language).

Best Tweet: Chris Paul



The context here is what makes this one gold.

You remember the famous banana boat outing from this past NBA offseason. You'll also remember the emoji war among NBA players fueled by the Clippers' courtship of DeAndre Jordan. Well, timing paid Chris Paul a favor, and helped him (or whoever tweets for him) craft Emoji Day's funniest tweet.

Best Uniform Change: Milwaukee Bucks

Denver Nuggets v Milwaukee Bucks

A number of teams switched up their looks this season, but Milwaukee -- ditching the Christmas theme and going with a much better look.

Least Valuable Player: Anthony Bennett



Poor guy. The former first-overall pick in the NBA Draft ranked 472nd out of 474 players in ESPN's Real Plus-Minus statistic that weighs a player's overall value on offense and defense. This season, with the Toronto Raptors, he's improved to 305th out of 420. The Raps are still 22 points per 100 possessions worse with him on the floor.

Most Valuable Player: Stephen Curry



The NBA got this one right back in May. And they'll probably get it right next spring, too, when they hand Stephen Curry his second consecutive MVP trophy.

Leading the league with a career-high 32.3 point-per-game average, Curry is revolutionizing the game by taking 11.4 threes per game and making more than five -- on a team that currently sits at 24-1.

Not bad, Steph.

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