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Home / Sports / NBA Playoffs Star Power Index: Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant on another level; Kyrie Irving takes the blame

NBA Playoffs Star Power Index: Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant on another level; Kyrie Irving takes the blame

Welcome Back to the NBA Playoffs Star Power Index – a weekly indicator for the players controlling the postseason buzz. Note: Inclusion in this list is not necessarily a good thing. It simply means that you capture the attention of the NBA world. This is not a ranking. The listed players are arranged in no particular order as they relate to the buzz they generate. This column will run every week until the end of the final.

Harden said he could barely see "after leaving Houston's Game 2 loss for the Warriors with a chapped left eyelid just before the warriors. Harden still managed 29 points with relatively efficient shooting marks, but the Rockets are still in a 2-0 hole and are now facing an absolutely vital victory in Game 3 on Saturday in Houston. The Rockets will have to win four of the next five games to win this series. There is no chance that they will come back from 3-0 down.

Harden and the rockets also made headlines after their defeat in Game 1

. effectively accused the incumbent and the multiple 3-point attempts that they felt had been tortured, but that was not named. Harden said he just wanted a "fair chance" against the Warriors, where many people at the irony of a man who for years blurs the line between what is and is not, has a damn, duping refs right and left, who outrageously benefits from it and speaks about fair chances. Ask yourself: Is this a fair chance?

The good news is that the officials in Game 2 were not part of the story as it should be. All thought it would come to more fireworks when Scott Foster was assigned to the game because the Rockets were history and Foster and Harden said he should no longer officially task the Houston Games of his bias against them. There was no fireworks. Just good, hard playoff basketball on both sides. If the Rockets felt that they needed more calls to return to this series, they should think about a new strategy before Game 3.

Kawhi Leonard played nine games for the San Antonio Spurs two years ago. He came to Toronto this season and was great, but he still flew a bit under the radar because he did a lot of load-managing and it's the regular season. But, man, these playoffs were a reminder that Kawhi is still absolutely in this "best player in the world".

It's a big difference between this level and an all-star level That's what got Toronto out of DeMar DeRozan. Kawhi is with Kevin Durant and LeBron James in the process of doing whatever he wants on both sides. He gets seats for middle class jumpers. He posts and goes to the rim. He beats 3s at an absurd speed. He is defensively over.

For the playoffs Leonard is on average at 31.3 points on the career. Are you ready for it? – 58 percent shoot in total, of which 47 percent from more than six attempts per game. In the second round against Philly he scored an average of 40 points per game, after he had played in game 1 with 45 and in game 2 with 45 points.

"It all came together for Toronto," said one Scout CBS Sports after Raptors' # 1 game over the '76. "You take the step for Marc [Gasol] and you can see the defense he brings with the paint and the passing see [Pascal] Siakam takes off, but Kawhi is just on a different level, he was the best player He and Durant. "

The Raptors defeated the Sixers in Game 2 and return to Philadelphia after losing the home advantage for the time being. Game 3 is Thursday night.

If this is the last run of Durant with the Warriors, what a way to go out. K. D. With an average of 34.4 points in the playoffs (by far his career high) with 52 percent shooting and 40 percent with 3. The result is pronounced in the playoffs on average. Over the years, the debate has led to whether the Warriors are the Durant team or Stephen Currys. They will always be the curry team in the hearts of the fans, and certainly they can and will become the focus of their activities at all times. But for all functional purposes, Durant is the man in the Golden State.

"For me it's like this: Durant is a guy who will bring you to the finals year after year," said a scout of the Eastern Conference recently to CBS Sports. "I mean, winning a title is a bit of a story of its own, so much has to go right, but year after year, Durant is in position and gives you stability because what he brings is so reliable Getting Shot He wants at all times, and it's always a good shot, it's like LeBron, the playoffs do not change anything for them, the defense gets harder, it's more physical, and the boys can still do what they do As with Steph or James Harden, you can win a title as the best player with these guys, but I think it's more of a kind of guy in four or five years, they run and run with them, but Durant It's every year and every one Consistency is the difference. "

Giannis had found almost no easier tracks against Al Horford and the Celtics, but his relentlessness paid off in Game 2 as the Bucks recovered to tie Series 1-1 Giannis forces The issue is still down, and although he has to leave the group of defenders who so often surround him, he still has to improve, but he has done well to find teammates for punches. Maybe the biggest surprise in these playoffs? Giannis beats 3-pointers at a considerable speed .

Giannis is 5 points out of 9 in 3 points in the first two games of the Boston Series, and scores more than five times per game in the playoffs with 39 percent. That's scary. Good luck with this guy when he starts taking this shot regularly.

"Giannis is a worker," a western conference scout told CBS Sports when he was asked about Giannis' chances to develop a consistent 3-point shot. "You know he's going to the gym and working there and you can tell he's already done it, he's the guy who knows basketball is the most important thing, I always bet on such a guy. "

Kyrie was great in Boston's Game 1 win over Milwaukee, then went into the tank in the Game 2 defeat – scoring nine out of 18 for four out of 18 points and generally out of rhythm and lazy games throughout made. Some of his quotes from after the loss:

"It starts with the example that I'm down in that color and doing the right reading, and I did not do that tonight, that responsibility is way better for the tempo

"There's no extra burden, so I signed in. That's what Boston did."

"I just need to be more efficient for myself. I control the pace of the game, the pace I'm at on the floor and makes reading in this middle area better, "Irving said. "They did a great job tonight, forcing me to move to the left, it was not hard to get to paint, it's just getting in there and making the right decisions, and the way I play with it I just gave an example to my teammates the way we want to play, I did not just put a punch on that. "

Irving was really good in the playoffs, but it will not matter If he continues his game 2 performance with another stinker in Game 3 and Boston loses control of this series with Milwaukee. I do not expect that. Kyrie is currently in a good rhythm. He just had a hiccup. He's one of the best big-stage players in the game, and he knows this is a photo-finishes series with Milwaukee. I like Boston to win Game 3.

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