Kevin Love almost didn't make it to Christmas.
In the first quarter of the Grizzlies' duel against the Cavaliers, a hard-charging Ja Morant was running to the bucket as Love was in the way to take a charge. The rookie decided against passing back to the outside or finessing his way around for the layup. Instead, he chose to try going over Love and nearly clotheslined him with his groin for a poster.
The dunk ended up clanging the back of the rim. It was a spectacular miss, but ultimately a miss, which means Love avoided complete humiliation. Grizzlies would end up going back to Memphis with a memory and an L after falling to Cleveland, 114-107.
Morant's aerobatic audacity immediately recalled what Vince Carter did to Frédéric Weis at the 2000 Summer Olympics. The difference, of course, is that Carter did score the dunk and getting yammed on became the highlight of Weis' career. Weis was on Love's mind when he spoke to reporters after the game about being a near victim.
"I was so glad he missed that dunk," Love said. "I look back, I helped him up—that was my tip of the hat to him. The kid is really special and you gotta give credit where credit is due."
Love also gave Morant his props on Twitter. Read his and others' reactions below.