Thursday, April 15, 2010

When The Music's On, You Dance

The last night of the NBA season, when most teams really aren't trying, creates opportunities for unheralded players to defy observers' prior beliefs about what they can do. Stars sit, and the men on the court stop bothering to play D. Hence we get eruptions like the following:

Trevor Ariza: 11 of 18 from the field, 10 rebounds, 10 assists, 2 blocks, 26 points in a loss to New Orleans

Steve Blake: 8 of 12 from the field with 4 three-pointers, 10 rebounds, 11 assists, 2 steals, 23 points in a win over the depleted Lakers

Jeff Pendergraph: 11 of 15 for 23 points in a loss to Golden State

Bill Walker: Six 3s, 7 rebounds, 28 points in a loss to Toronto

DeMar DeRozan: 9 of 11 shooting, 9 rebounds, 24 points in the above-cited Knicks-Raptors game

DeJuan Blair: 12 of 21 from the field, 3 steals, 23 rebounds, 27 points in a loss to Dallas

Jeff Teague: 11 of 19 from the field, 24 points, 15 assists in a win over the Cavaliers

Other renowned players (most notably Stephen Curry) had great offensive games last night, but I have attempted to highlight heretofore quiet role players who, raging against the dying of the light, showed decision-makers what they could potentially do if featured next season.

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