It may be early in the postseason, but let’s just say it has been a fairly lackluster round one so far for several teams matched up in the quarterfinals of the 2015 NBA Playoffs. Seriously, we’re at three sweeps and counting. It’s a team sport, but the following players are liable for poor performances when their fans needed them the most.
There was much ado about the Dallas Mavericks’ mid-season acquisition of Rajon Rondo, but he ended what was a disappointing regular season with an even more brutal playoffs. The team fared terribly whenever he was on the court. Fans could presumably point to an injury sustained during Game 2 against the Houston Rockets as a “disappointment,” but it wasn’t anything but. Word is that Rondo’s back pain was faked to cut him from the roster due to the antagonism between him and his teammates. If Rondo weren’t unwanted from day one, perhaps the franchise could have avoided a near sweep.
The Toronto Raptors put up a solid playoffs performance last year, and it had a lot to do with one man: Kyle Lowry. His only sin in 2014 was that he couldn’t drain the game-winning shot to beat a veteran Brooklyn. After being deservedly named an All-Star this year, Lowry’s performance dropped off due to a nagging injury. He put up a (comparatively) measly 17.8 points per game during the regular season, followed by an excruciating 12.3 points per game in the playoffs. He was a shell of the star man the team needed to advance. The Raptors, needless to say, were swept in the series by the Washington Wizards.
Not a disappointment in the traditional sense, but fans hoping to see the LeBron James/Kevin Love duo take the Cleveland Cavaliers to the finals may certainly see it that way. Love’s postseason record in the four games he played closely mirrored his regular season play, with 14.4 points and 2.5 assists per game. Unfortunately, the cruel basketball gods had a different fate in store for Love: he was taken out of commission for roughly six months in order to recover from an injury sustained at the hands of Kelly Olynyk. The Cavs should still have plenty of depth to go one without him after sweeping Boston in round one, but finals may still prove a challenge.
Fly, Jonas, fly!