One of the best things to come out of this year's Sloan Sports Analytics Conference was Kirk Goldsberry's paper on interior defense, in which he details which defenders are the best and worst at lowering opponent field goal percentage on shots at the rim. Surprisingly, the paper pointed to little-known Milwaukee Bucks big man Larry Sanders as the NBA's best interior defender.
Last night, Sanders backed up Goldsberry's findings in spectacular fashion. Near the end of the first half of last night's Jazz-Bucks game, Jazz guard Alec Burks knifed into the lane and attempted to throw down a monster dunk over Ersan Ilyasova. That's when Sanders came bounding in from the top of the paint and denied Burks at the summit. Blocks don't get much cleaner than this.
Unfortunately, the referee whistled Burks for a charge on the play, and Sanders's block wasn't recorded. Still, the moment provided a valuable lesson to Burks and the rest of the NBA: do not bring that weak stuff at Larry Sanders.