10 Surprise Performers In The NBA Playoffs

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

We’re down to eight now in the NBA playoffs and crunch time takes on even more meaning as the post-season winds down.

With healthy 2-0 leads, Cleveland and Golden State look primed to move on, as expected. The Oklahoma City-San Antonio and Toronto-Miami affairs look to be protracted fights as they are knotted 1-1.

Of all scorers and statistical leaders, a lot of the names at the top aren’t all that surprising. Of remaining players, Klay Thompson leads all scorers with 25.9 points per game, followed closely by Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving (25). Durant, Westbrook, James and Lillard are all top 10, too.

With bench depth and secondary scoring being at a premium, what with the crazy refereeing and the foul calls, there are quite a few players enjoying better post-seasons than regular seasons.

We’re mighty impressed with 10 of them, in particular, a few of them we previewed by telling you to pay attention to them.

Here they are, in no particular order.

10. Mason Plumlee, C – Portland Trail Blazers

The Blazers are down 2-0 to the Stephen Curry-less Warriors, but one of their number has shown considerable jam in a losing cause (so far). Third-year center Mason Plumlee has been a rebounding machine, grabbing 102, which puts him third for total boards and third in average (12.8 per game). Of his rebounds, 24 have been offensive and 78 defensive. His most superlative effort was 21 boards against the Clippers in game 3 of the first round. That’s to be expected from an athletic 6’11” pivot. What has come unexpectedly from Plumlee has been a deft touch in the paint and the ability to get the ball into the hands of shooters like Damian Lillard. He has 44 dimes so far, good for a 5.5 per game average (10th overall). The Duke grad also has two double-doubles in the playoffs, the first a 17-point, 10-rebound performance in game 2 against the Clips and then 10 points and 15 rebounds in game five. He had 15 double-doubles in 82 regular season games.

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