Two convincing wins last night were highlighted by some well balanced scoring outputs. Russell Westbrook and Kevin Garnett contributed big games, but their teammates were slightly more valuable.
76ers @ Celtics – Boston uses second half serge to oust Philly 101-85
MVP: Brandon Bass
The Celtics valuable “piece” proved to the basketball public that Boston does in fact start 5 players. We all know about the “Big Four”, but Bass’ unique skill set for a big man must not be overlooked when scouting the Celtics offense. He routinely buried mid-range jumpers on his way to a team high 27 points on only 13 field goal attempts. Bass led the C’s in field goals made, rebounds, offensive rebounds, plus/minus ratio, and steals but his impact goes further than that. His ability to knock down jump shots extends the defense, allowing Rajon Rondo (14 assists) to be more effective. B squared isn’t a blooming star, but he has established himself as a key cog in the Boston machine, which looks to close out the 76ers in the upcoming game 6.
Lakers @ Thunder – Youth prevails as the Thunder run away from the Lakers 106-90
MVP: Kevin Durant
This game was close for a little while, as Kobe Bryant caught fire, but the Thunder are simply the better team. Durant got his 25 points, but I’m more impressed with his 10 defensive rebounds. OKC was +16 on the glass against what is nearly unanimously considered the top rebounding front line in the NBA, and Durant was not only a key in holding the Lakers to only 6 second chance points, but his rebounds led to transition opportunities. On the fast break, the athletic Thunder outscored the Lakers by 24 points, often squashing any momentum Los Angeles had with a dunk. Kobe Bryant may have scored more points, but Durant was more efficient and more well rounded, as the Thunder put the Lakers out of their misery in 5 games.