In the NBA playoffs, it's all about clutch performances.
No team can afford a player to have a breakdown this late in the year.
After eight games in two days, I will examine who came up big and who fell flat in the first weekend of the NBA Playoffs. I will list the top five overachievers and top five under performers based on stats and overall team contribution by each player.
Jameer Nelson—Nelson shot lights out in the first half, but his quiet second half performance and lack of assists land him here.
Russell Westbrook—Finished one point behind Kevin Durant, and couldn't be stopped by the Lakers guards.
Mo Williams—Managed a double-double in a solid effort scoring 19 points and adding 10 assists.
Jennings put up 34 in a valiant losing effort on Saturday.
His scoring brought the Bucks to single digits after a huge halftime deficit.
Without Andrew Bogut, Jennings' high scoring won't matter much against a talented Hawks team.
Wallace is another player who played spectacularly despite his team losing.
His 25 points and incredible 17 rebounds kept the Bobcats from being blown out, but his team missed Stephen Jackson for a large portion of the game and fell short in Game One.
Miller's 31 points led both teams in scoring in Portland's 105-100 victory over Phoenix.
Missing Brandon Roy didn't seem to phase Andre Miller who made up the deficit by dominating Phoenix's guards the entire game.
He then iced the game with several clutch free throws in the fourth quarter.
Watching the Mavericks-Spurs game yesterday had a weird affect on my jaw; it kept dropping.
Dirk Nowitzki lit up the floor with 36 points yesterday, and made several jump shots that had me saying, "He can't do that again."
But he did, and his stellar play led Dallas to a Game One victory.
We seem to have forgotten that at one point this season, Melo was leading the league in scoring, the Nuggets were in contention for the the number one seed in the Western Conference, and 15 was in talks for the MVP.
Injuries hampered all of those, but Carmelo Anthony scored 42 points in a dominant Game One win over Utah.
Derrick Rose—Rose scored a lot of points and had a point/assist double-double, but he turned the ball over seven times in a losing effort against the Cavs.
Shaquille O'Neal—I'll give him a little slack for missing the last two months with a thumb injury, but that's no excuse for only rebounding the ball five times.
Richard Jefferson—The Spurs signed him hoping he'd lift the team back up to the top of the West. He only scored four points in yesterday's loss to Dallas.
The NBA's scoring champion scored only 24 points in Game One in LA, and didn't come up big at the end of a tight game.
Oklahoma needs Kevin Durant to get back to scoring 30+ points per-game.
The Celtics won Game One, but not thanks to Ray Allen's eight points (four of which came from the free throw line.) He only made two field goals, and was 0-for-4 from behind the arch.
Is Ron Artest's hair beginning to have a negative affect on his game play. His performance in Game One would agree.
Seven points, only two made field goals, and seven missed three pointers don't help his case either.
STAT was all but at home in the first half in the game against Portland. His second half didn't bode well for the Suns either.
18 total points and an early exit from fouls allowed the Blazers to complete the upset in Game One in Phoenix.
If you saw in the final box score for the Bobcats-Magic game that Dwight Howard only scored five points, would you assume that Charlotte won the game?
Yeah, so would I.
Fortunately, the Magic defense held the Bobcats to under 90 and Orlando won Game One. Howard ended the game with nine blocks! However, his five points and seven rebounds left us wanting more from Superman.