3 votes – Tim Duncan. I was amused to see Richard Jefferson making the headlines after this game thanks to his 19 points. “Jefferson bounces back”… “Jefferson the key as Spurs tie it at 1-1″. Has RJ’s stock really plummeted that much since becoming a Spur that we applaud a 19-point game? Is everyone that sick of Duncan/Parker/ Ginobili to the point where any other Spurs guy that plays above-average is labeled the savior? I for one haven’t forgotten who drives this team, and that is Tim freaking Duncan. He showed it yesterday with his 25-17, executed with about as much flair and excitement as this quote from Coach Pop. “We went to Tim just about every other time down the stretch. He came through by scoring and rebounding at the other end.”

“He came through by scoring and rebounding at the other end”

Can we please inscribe this on the grave of Tim Duncan’s NBA career? I don’t think you’ll find a sentence that sums up Timmy D more succinctly than that.  Simple, efficient, boring.

2 votes -Vince Carter. This is the type of game that demonstrates why the Magic are legit. No one scored more than 20. No one took more than 12 shots. Dwight Howard didn’t even get his default double-double. Yet they still comfortably handled quality opposition and won by 15 points. It feels wrong to award votes to Vince Carter especially in the post season, but he was the stand-out from this game. Not only did he have a very efficient game (19 points on 10 shots, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals) but he blew it wide open in the third quarter when the Bobcats were threatening. The Magic didn’t need any last-minute heroics at the end of this one, and for Vince Carter, that might just about be the most perfect playoff game imaginable.

1 vote – Richard Jefferson. Only because relative to his form, this was a landmark game for RJ. He has struggled mightily this season to integrate into that Spurs game-plan, but maybe RJ has simply adopted his ball club’s long-standing mentality of lifting his game in the playoffs when it matters? What struck me the most from looking at this game, was how effective Duncan/Ginobili/Parker remained despite Jefferson’s increased output. Ginobili shot 8-13, scored 23 and had 5 rebounds and 4 assists. Parker came off the bench to score 16 and drop 8 dimes. And Timmy D was Timmy D. Jefferson takes the pressure off those guys by forcing the defense to respect a fourth Spurs option – something which has been a bit of a novelty over the past half-decade.

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