These playoffs are certainly keeping us on our toes so far. Just when it looked like the Bulls were cruising to a 2-1 lead and stranglehold on the series, the 76′ers came storming back. Just when the Lakers looked like they were in control early, the Nuggets went on a 19-0 run and never looked back. And just when we thought Atlanta’s brave comeback would be enough to steal the game, they found a way to screw it up again. On to the votes then.
3 votes – JaVale McGee. The best game I have seen him play. His numbers – 16 points, 15 rebounds (6 of them offensive), 4 blocks, 2 assists, 2 steals – while impressive, don’t tell the full story of just how effective he was in this game. He owned Andrew Bynum for most of the night. His energy set the tone for his team, triggered countless Denver fast-breaks, and cause a few hissy fits from Bynum which visibly threw him off his game. McGee was hard-working and disruptive, but also demonstrated some finesse on a few nice moves, and a lot of great basketball fundamentals. I was really impressed. Perhaps the single greatest measure of his value tonight? An astonishing +30 in the +/- column. If McGee keeps playing like this, the Lakers really don’t have the advantage in size and length that we all thought they did coming into the series.
2 votes – Ty Lawson. In fairness, it was Ty who set the tone for this game early, triggering that incredible 19-0 run and making Ramon Sessions look as fast as Derek Fisher. The ease in which he got to the rim was alarming, and honestly, a couple of times I remember thinking to myself “Championship teams just don’t let guys get easy hoops like that”. His drive over Jordan Hill in the first quarter was the layup-equivalent of a facial. Lawson wasn’t backing down from anyone tonight. When your point guard and centre have games like that, you’re going to be tough to beat.
1 vote – Rajon Rondo. A typical demonstration of the brilliance and fundamental limitations of Rajon Rondo. He would have had the 3 or 2 votes today if it wasn’t for his several late brain-farts in this game, including one terrible possession in OT where his miss could have cost the Celtics the game, and another inexplicable missed layup. It was comedy at times in this game, which was extremely ugly to watch. But if any team excels at winning ugly it’s the Celtics. Rondo’s 17-14-12 triple double was apparently the first in NBA history. Which is enough to deserve a vote on its own.