Sunday, September 4, 2011

NBA Playoffs: “Murdered You On Your Own Shit” Awards, Part 1

The Miami Heat Index's "Murdered You on Your Own Shit" Award Series: NBA Playoffs Edition begins with the 20 best performances on the road by NBA players in the last 20 years. Part One begins the countdown with the players ranked 16-20.’s excellent “Murdered You On Your Own Shit” Awards inspired a new series of articles at the Miami Heat Index. The first article, Did the King Murder Wade On His Own Team focused on whether LeBron outplayed Wade on his own team last season. This article will focus on players that went on the road and murdered the other team on their own court in front of their own crowd and on the biggest stage: the playoffs.

In the last 20 years, 21 players have murdered the other team on their own court by scoring 40+ points on the road in an NBA playoff game, according to The "Murdered You On Your Own Shit" Award Series: NBA Playoffs Edition ranked players by the number of 40-point games on the road. All ties went to the player with the higher Win Score per 48 Minutes average. See the article Simple Models of Player Performance by sports economist David Berri for more information on Win Score.

And the awards go to...

Honorable Mention: Russell Westbrook
One murder: At Memphis Grizzlies on May 9, 2011

In Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals, the surprising Grizzlies stormed onto the Oklahoma City Thunder’s home court wearing San Antonio Spurs for souvenirs and smacked Durant & Co. around for a 13-point win and home court advantage. Down 2-1 with revenge on his mind, Westbrook used his trademark mix of kamikaze attacks on the paint and pull up jumpers to score 40 points on 46 percent shooting with five rebounds and five assists in a triple OT win at “The Mailbox” in Memphis to tie the Western Conference Semifinals at 2-2. His 7.1 WS48 was the second-least productive game of the Murdered On Your Own Shit Awards: NBA Playoffs Edition.

20. Karl Malone

Malone shot 2-20 in Game 3 of the Western Conference Semifinals and the Jazz got blown out by 20 points in the Great Western Forum. The Mailman returned two days later and missed eight of his first 10 shots to start Game 4, but he finished with 42 points on 44 percent shooting, an NBA playoff record 18 consecutive free throws and nine rebounds to deliver a 15-point blowout and 3-1 series lead to the Jazz.

The Jazz won the series 4-1 after a rookie named Kobe Bryant airballed the Lakers out of the playoffs in the fourth quarter and overtime.

One murder: At Orlando Magic on May 2, 2003

Tracy McGrady said it would feel good to get to the second round after the Orlando Magic took a 3-1 series lead over the Detroit Pistons in the first round of the 2003 playoffs. The Pistons blew the Magic out by 31 points in Game 5 at the Palace of Auburn Hills.

In Game 6, Billups murdered McGrady on his own shit - the TD Waterhouse Centre. Mr. Big Shot dropped 40 points on 63 percent shooting with four rebounds and four assists to get the Pistons a 15-point win and Game 7 at home, where they would close out the series.

18. Dwyane Wade
One murder: At Washington Wizards on May 14, 2005

With Shaquille O’Neal in a suit with a thigh bruise, the second-year baller formerly known as Flash scored 22 points in the third quarter without missing a shot to give the Heat an 11-point lead going into the fourth quarter at the MCI Center. Wade finished with a franchise playoff-record 42-point game (he's since broken it), 59 percent shooting and seven rebounds to give the Heat a 3-0 lead in the 2005 Eastern Conference Semifinals.

The Heat went on to sweep the Wizards and took a 3-2 lead on the defending champion Pistons but lost in seven games after a rib injury sustained in Game 5 limited Wade in Game 7. Who knew history would repeat itself six years later in the NBA Finals?

17. Tracy McGrady
One murder: At Detroit Pistons on April 20, 2003

McGrady led the 8th-seeded Magic into the Palace at Auburn Hills and pulled off a coup in Game 1 as he blasted the Pistons with 43 points on 59 percent shooting and seven rebounds. At one point, he scored 12 straight points in the second half to keep the game out of reach. Of course, Billups returned the favor in Game 6 and T-Mac is still looking for his first playoff series victory to this day.

16. Nick Van Exel
One murder: At Sacramento Kings on May 10, 2003

What was expected to be a match of soft vs. softer turned out to be a classic playoff series after the Kings walked into the American Airlines Center and beatdown the Mavericks by double-digits. After Mark Cuban’s crew soaked up their blood, sweat and tears from Game 1 with the fluffiest towels in the league, Van Exel went hard off the bench for 36 points to help them return the favor in Game 2 with a 22-point win. He was just getting started, though.

Nickey Max went “supersub” in Game 4 and simply had more bullets than everyone else as the game turned into a 141-137 Sacto shootout won by the Mavs. Steve Nash hit the Kings for 31 and 11, Dirk Nowitzki emptied his clip for 25 and 20 and Peja Stojakovic fired away for 39 points (5-10 from three) but Van Exel’s jumper sent the game into overtime and he kept banging away for 40 points on 65 percent shooting (6-12 from three), seven rebounds and seven assists.

The Mavs went on to win the series in seven games.

Check back in the following days for the players ranked 11-15 in the "Murdered You On Your Own Shit" Award Series: NBA Playoffs Edition. Who do you think they will be? Leave your guesses in the comments section.

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