We’ve asked our stable of scribes to take one last look back at the 2011 NBA playoffs.
What’s the single most outrageous performance in a game from the 2011 playoffs?
Steve Aschburner: Russell Westbrook‘s 12-of-30 shooting night in Oklahoma City’s Game 4 loss to Denver in the first round was a glimpse into Westbrook’s brash game. It was a sign, too, of how this incredible athlete, more lively than heady at times, still can be a love-him-or-hate-him player who can dominate a game in ways good and bad. Sure, he scored 30 points, but he was 0-of-7 from the arc and had no business jacking up 12 more shots than Kevin Durant. As Denver’s Kenyon Martin said afterward: “We’ll take that. Jeez boy. We’ll take that. If he can get 30 up and miss 18 of them, we’ll take that every day.”
Fran Blinebury: This is an easy one. It’s Dirk Nowitzki scoring 48 points on just 15 field goal attempts — without a single 3-pointer — in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals. He was inside, he was outside. He shot over, twisted to go up and under. He set a record with 24-for-24 from the free-throw line. In all, Dirk took 39 shots on the night and he made 36 of them. He made the game look amazingly simple and breathtaking at the same time.
Shaun Powell: Brandon Roy stole a game from Dallas and a night from the playoffs with 18 points in the fourth and hit the game-winner. The Blazers were down by 23, and Roy, a man with no knees, was supposedly down for the count. Not on this night, he wasn’t.
John Schuhmann: LeBron James‘ personal 10-0 run to end the Celtics-Heat series. The Celtics were in control of that game (up six) with 4 1/2 minutes left, ready to take the series back to Boston and likely extend it to seven games. But the Heat tied it up and he then LeBron ended Paul Pierce‘s season with a pair of threes in his grill, like LeBron was Ray Allen or something.
Sekou Smith: LeBron James had a number of outrageously bad performances in The Finals, but top honors here go to Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki and NBA scoring champ Kevin Durant. They combined for an outrageous 88 points in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals, Nowitzki dropped 48 in a Mavericks’ win over the Thunder while Durant shot back with 40 of his own. Nowitzki was a perfect 24-for-24 from the free-throw line and also shot 12-for-15 from the floor. He aimed the ball at the rim 39 times in 41 minutes of action and found the bottom of the net an amazing 36 times. Durant shot 18-for-19 from the free-throw line and made 10 of his 18 shots from the floor in his 42 minutes. Outrageous!