Sport NBA Playoffs 2021: Who is the postseason MVP so far?
League Pass Alert: One Play - The Brooklyn Nets are unguardable even without James Harden
The Nets lost James Harden early in Game 1 due to a hamstring injury, but it didn't stop them from cruising to a victory over the Bucks behind the play of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. More than anything, it was a reminder of how dominant the Nets have been offensively all season long with two of their three All-Stars on the court.Today, the Brooklyn Nets take the spotlight.
Three weeks into the 2021 NBA Playoffs, the action has been exciting, to say the least.
The shortened 72-game season and the ensuing first round have given us a field of eight teams in the Conference Semifinals which includes five franchises that have never won an NBA title.
There are teams led by the next generation of stars, a group including the likes of Donovan Mitchell, Trae Young and Devin Booker but there are also the playoff regulars in Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard, a pair of two-time Finals MVPs, who are putting on a show.
Three weeks into the 2021 postseason, who has been the MVP so far? Our NBA.com Staff discusses and shares their picks.
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The Denver Nuggets big man becomes the first center to be named Most Valuable Player since Shaquille O'Neal in 2000.Jokic's win marks the first time in 21 years that a center won the award, with Shaquille O'Neal the last outright center crowned MVP in the 199-2000 season.
Yash Matange (): Donovan Mitchell
There are plenty of worthy names from the teams still in the 2021 postseason but I've got to go with Donovan Mitchell.
It's difficult to eclipse what he did in the seven-game playoff run in the bubble last year, where he posted averages of 36.3 points and 4.9 assists on shooting splits of 52.9 percent from the field, 51.6 percent from beyond the arc and 94.8 percent from the free-throw line, and yet Mitchell is doing just that these playoffs.
After Mitchell missed Game 1 of the opening round, the Jazz are a perfect 6-0 since his return.
When he's on the floor, he's been instant offence, scoring on an average of 32.7 points in 32.6 minutes through six games – he's the only player in theto average more points than minutes.
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He's doing so on very respectable shooting splits of 48.2 percent from the field, 41.8 percent from beyond the arc and 87.8 percent from the free-throw line. Thus, helping the Jazz outscore their opponents by an average of 8.8 points when he's on the floor.
Gilbert McGregor (): After some deep thought, Kevin Durant gets the nod from me.
Remember in 2019,"I'm Kevin Durant. Y'all know who I am?" Yeah, KD is back on that level.
Through his first eight playoff games, Durant is averaging 31.8 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.6 assists while shooting 52.4 percent from the field, 47.8 percent from deep and 90.3 percent from the free-throw line. He's Mr. 50-40-90 … and he's scoring nearly 32 a game while doing it.
As NBA.com's Kyle Irving recently said,. And right now, as I write this, he's the best player in the league, too.
When you talk about value, Durant has been a major reason that the Nets are still impossible to guard, even after James Harden went down 43 seconds into Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Teams are draping durant defensively and it doesn't matter.
NBA Playoffs 2021: How LA Clippers superstar Kawhi Leonard has performed when trailing 2-0 in a series
Sunday's matchup with the Jazz will mark the third time in Kawhi Leonard's career that he's entered Game 3 of a series down 2-0. The two previous times, Leonard stepped up in a big way to flip the series in his team's favour. Will he deliver again?Having lost both Game 1 and Game 2, the Clippers return to Los Angeles looking to avoid going down a hole no team has ever crawled out of. Of the 142 teams that have gone up 3-0 in NBA Playoffs history, every single one has won the series to advance to the next round.
90% of Kevin Durant’s threes this playoffs have been contested (highest among all players).
He is shooting 50% on those threes.
Literally unguardable.— StatMuse (@statmuse)
His ability to create for himself and others keeps the ball moving to spread the offensive wealth for Brooklyn's supporting cast to make its presence felt.
KD is my postseason MVP and he soon could be adding a third Finals MVP to his name.
Carlan Gay (): It's been Devin Booker for me. Not only did he have to go toe-to-toe with the defending champions in the first round, but he also had to carry an even heavier load with Chris Paul compromised due to injury.
Booker has elevated his game to another level in the playoffs and honestly, we should've seen it coming. We're all aware that the Suns went 8-0 in the bubble last year, just narrowly missing the Play-In Game, but let's not forget that Booker was incredible and might have won the Bubble MVP had they made it.
He finished the Bubble averaging 30.5 points and 6.0 assists while shooting 50.3 percent from the field in the eight games Phoenix played.
NBA MVP ejected as Suns sweep Nuggets in playoffs
The Suns roared into the Western Conference Finals for the first time in 11 years, while Nikola Jokic was ejected.Chris Paul scored 37 points and Devin Booker added 34 in a physical game marred by Jokic's ejection.
Devin. Booker. ????
Suns on a 16-0 run ????
(via— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) )
So it should be no surprise that he's been balling the way he has so far in the playoffs. Book is putting up 27.1 points, 6.4 rebounds, 5.0 assists while shooting 49.7 percent from the field, 41.3 percent from three and 91.2 percent from the free-throw line. In case you missed it, that's almost 50-40-90.
CP3 is looking healthier by the game, which should help the Suns go ever deeper into the playoffs, but what Booker did in the first round against the Lakers to give his team a chance and what he's doing now in the second round against the Nuggets makes him my MVP of the playoffs so far.
He's been great and if this is the floor, we really have no idea what the ceiling will be.
Kane Pitman (): The Clippers currently find themselves right back in an 0-2 hole against the Utah Jazz.
They were also in the same situation in the first round against the Dallas Mavericks and one man single handedly dragged them out of it.
Watching Kawhi Leonard this postseason has been a reminder that his best puts him right in the conversation for the top player in the world.
In seven games against Dallas Leonard averaged 32.1 points, 7.9 rebounds and 4.6 assists on absurd 61/42/90 shooting splits.
In Game 6 with the Clippers trailing 3-2 and on the road, Leonard piled on 45 points on 18-for-25 shooting in arguably the best individual performance of the postseason thus far.
Kawhi (45 PTS) TOOK OVER tonight ????
Clippers force Game 7— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT)
Kawhi is yet to hit those levels in the second round, but the Clippers will need him to if they are to again make the long road back after losing the first two games.
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NBA Playoffs 2021: Atlanta Hawks win Game 7 thriller to advance to Eastern Conference Finals .
Kevin Huerter stepped up in Game 7 with a playoff career-high 27 points as the Atlanta Hawks booked their spot in the Eastern Conference Finals.In a nail-biting 103-96 Game 7 win over the Philadelphia 76ers, the Hawks recorded their fifth road win in the playoffs in a game that featured 16 ties and 18 lead changes.