When on the Road, NBA Stars have yet to Carry the Load

Chris DowhowerContributor IMay 16, 2008

With the Spurs victory last night, the home teams in the NBA 2nd round improved to 20-1.

What is causing this disparity?

There have been many reasons suggested, but its simple. There is the lack of the true superstar performance in this year's conference semi-finals.

Drops by role players, team defense, foul disparity, and hustle are all expected on the road.

But what isn't supposed to happen is the drop in play by the superstar. They are supposed to be the ones who step up, and make up for road differences.

True superstars of the past, not only played well, they often played better on the road. They enjoyed the hostile environment, and even thrived on it.

Lebron James, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, and Tim Duncan are all considered star players.

Yet not one of these guys has led his team to a road victory in the second round.

None of these superstars have had a 40 or 50 point explosion, no incredible fourth quarters, no triple doubles, no great shooting, or no willing of their team to victory.

Kobe Bryant is considered to have the "killer," instinct of the superstars of the past. Maybe it's due to injury, but he has yet to put the dagger in the Jazz on the road. His stats have been good, but his impact should be more.

Chris Paul has decent numbers on the road, but doesn't dictate the game like he does in New Orleans.

Tim Duncan has had serious struggles shooting and scoring. 

Lebron broke out in game five for 23 first half points, but did little the rest of the way.

Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce have been inconsistent, especially in the fourth quarter.

Dwight Howard had decent numbers, but could not get off more than 11 shots in any game in Detroit.

These stars haven't been bad, but they haven't been great either.

The NBA greats have always stepped up their games in the playoffs. They have been their for the team when they were needed most.

Mental toughness is what separates good from great. Greats went into the opponents' gym, and brought their A+ game. They often carried their teams, and demonstrated an unwavering will to win.

It's true basketball is a team game. When everyone is playing good team basketball, you always have a chance to win.

But what happens when the team does not play well? That's when you rely on your stars. Its supposed to be when the big time money players earn that big time money.

Can one player win a series? No. Can they win a road game or two? Yes. So will this year's true superstar performer, please step up.