3 votes – George Hill: Manu’s shot wasn’t falling. Timmeh (4 points) and Parker (10 points, 5 turnovers) plain stunk it up. So George Hill’s big night wasn’t only impressive, it was also absolutely crucial to the Spurs’ hopes of winning the series. The kid had 29 points on 16 shots, including 5 threes – all of them from the corner – as well as a bunch of clutch pull-ups in key situations. And on the other end he was just as important, hounding Jason Kidd into his third consecutive poor game in the series. Other players no doubt had better looking lines (see below). But George Hill did it in what is (easily) the toughest series of the first round. He did it going head-to-head against a future Hall of Famer. He did it without any real support from the usual stars of the team. For that, he gets the NBAMate ANZAC medal.
2 votes – Carlos Boozer: The Booze has copped a lot of criticism over the years for not showing up to play at certain times. Partnered with some Ukranian dude, and up against two tough defenders in Nene and K-Mart, Booze could have easily played the victim. Instead, he went to work, and in Game 4 he was just straight up beasting. The Booze poured in 31 points on 19 shots, added 6 big offensive boards and kept providing a great target for Deron Williams to throw the ball to. I’m sure this performance has only made it harder for Jazz ownership to decide whether they want to pay the luxury tax to keep The Booze beyond this year. If it allows me to keep writing “The Booze” in playoff reviews, I strongly urge them to keep him.
1 vote – Lebron James and Dwyane Wade (shared): Both were at their absolute ridiculous best in the early games today. LeBron put up a sick 37/12/11 triple double in just 36 minutes, and even threw in this stupidly good (yet meaningless) half-court jumpshot for good measure. Wade, meanwhile, shattered the Miami playoff record for points with 46 in the game, and outscored the entire Celtics team 19-15 in the last quarter. However, Lebron is playing against a team that features Hakim Warrick and Flip Murray in its rotation, and Wade was playing against a Celtics team that had clearly hit South Beach the night before after taking a 3-0 lead. Neither performance will ultimately matter one iota in either series, and as such, Bron Bron and D-Wade will have to make do with half a vote each.