Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
3 votes – Goran Dragic. How do you knock-off Lebron for the 3 votes when The King explodes for 38-8-7? That’s easy. Just score 23 points in the fourth quarter, on the road, against your bitter arch-rivals… as a backup point guard. Goran Dragic, you have now officially arrived. The impact of his historic fourth-quarter cannot be understated. Not only has he put the Spurs in a inescapable 0-3 hole, he almost single-handedly erased years of painful memories Suns fans have harbored thanks to the San Antonio Spurs. Not only that, there’s extra meaning in the fact it was Goran Dragic who did this. This was the backup point guard miracle the Suns have been waiting for all these years, the proverbial Fountain of Youth for Steve Nash. Coach Pop admitted after this game that Steve Nash’s career might be extended another 3-4 years if Dragic keeps playing like this. That could be the difference in a championship and a sinking franchise. But there’s more. Dragic’s epic outburst might have signaled the end of an era for this San Antonio Spurs team. Tim Duncan will turn 35 next year, Ginobili 34, and McDyess (37) might retire. They have Hill and Blair as promising young guns, but this team will still only go as far as the Big 3 take them and the last time the Big 3 truly delivered was back in 2007. Seems like a long time ago, right? I won’t say the title window is shut on this Spurs team, but thanks to Dragic there’s a lot less light coming through than there was just a couple of days ago. That’s gotta make a Suns fan smile.
2 votes – Lebron James. Probably his best game of the playoffs so far. Lebron was brutal in the first quarter scoring 21 points, setting an aggressive tone on offense and defense for his team, and building a 19-point lead the Cavs would never surrender. The only way I can describe his first quarter is awesome. I was in awe – a feeling I only really get watching Lebron and Kobe these days. I’ll admit I was rooting for the Celtics, if only because I know Cleveland are the better team and the series would be a lot more entertaining watching them climb out of a 2-1 hole. But Lebron reminded me why Cleveland were my #1 championship favorite coming into these playoffs. See, Lebron James is a master at making his teammates better, that much we all know. But what people don’t realise is that his new and improved team has the effect of making him better too… and Lebron James is already pretty good.
1 vote – Jason Richardson. Did you know that J-Rich is the Suns leading scorer in this post-season? His 23.1 points per game not only tops Amare’s 19.6, but he’s shooting an insane 53% from three-point range. Whats more, this exceeds his overall FG% of 52.2 which means JASON RICHARDSON IS SHOOTING THREES AT A HIGHER CLIP THAN HIS TWOS! Utter insanity. He is playing the best ball of his nine-year career right now, and he’s making Steve Kerr look like a freakin genius (not easy to do over the last few years). He’s just one of the many feel-good stories about this Suns team (along with Grant Hill and Dragic) that is slowly becoming my favorite team to watch again. And I never thought I’d be saying that this year. Nice work Steve.