Friday, September 9, 2011

NBA Playoffs: “Murdered You On Your Own Shit” Awards, Part 3

The Miami Heat Index's "Murdered You on Your Own Shit" Award Series: NBA Playoffs Edition continues counting down the 20 best performances on the road by NBA players in the last 20 years. Part Three features Chicago Bulls' star Derrick Rose, who went from murdering the Hawks in Atlanta to getting killed by LeBron and Wade in Chicago during the last four minutes of Game 5 in the Eastern Conference Finals.’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 awards 6-10 go to...

10. Derrick Rose
One murder: At Atlanta Hawks on May 6, 2011

The Hawks flew into the United Center for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the top-seeded Chicago Bulls a major underdog. They punched the regular season beasts of the east in the mouth and walked out with first blood and a 1-0 lead in the series. Game 3 in the series was the Hawks’ chance to really take the Bulls by the horns and a 2-1 series lead.

Unfortunately for the Hawks, the media’s MVP had other plans. Rose produced 44 points with 67 percent shooting efficiency, five rebounds and seven assists to lead the Bulls to a 17-point blowout victory. Rose produced the ninth-best Win Score of the “Murdered You On Your Own Shit” Award Series: NBA Playoffs Edition. The Bulls took control of the series and eliminated the Hawks in six games.

Rose was cold-blooded in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semis, but things got a little too hot for him in the Eastern Conference Finals.

9. Kevin Johnson
One murder: At Houston Rockets on May 14, 1995

The 1995 Western Conference Semifinals between the third-seed Phoenix Suns and sixth-seed Rockets is one of the most bizarre playoff series in NBA history. The Suns won the first two games at home by a combined 46 points. The Rockets won Game 3 in Houston by 33 points. Then things got interesting.

It looked like the series was headed for another blowout as the Rockets took a 15-point lead in the third quarter, but KJ exploded for 24 points in the second half and the Suns left The Summit with a 3-1 series lead.

The mayor of Sacramento destroyed Kenny Smith and Sam Cassell with an unstoppable arsenal of crossovers, pick-and-rolls and pull-up jumpers. Some people believe that Kenny walks funny today from getting crossed up by KJ so many times in this game. When the Rockets tried to play off KJ, he rained jumpers on them. When they tried to overplay him, he either dove backdoor or split the defense off the pick-and-roll. It was a masterful performance.

KJ scored 43 points with 79 percent shooting efficiency, six rebounds, nine assists and three steals. He produced the sixth-best Win Score in the last 20 years by a player that scored 40 or more points.

Here’s the bizarre part: the Suns lost the next three games and the series ended with a “Kiss of Death” from Mario Elie. How the Rockets came back to win that series has to be one of the great mysteries in NBA history.

8. Jason Richardson
One murder: At Portland Trailblazers on April 22, 2010

Here’s another classic case of revenge. The always-injured Trailblazers went into the US Airways Center for Game 1 of the 2010 playoffs shorthanded with Brandon Roy and Greg Oden out from knee injuries. They left with a 105-100 win.

Richardson returned the favor in spades for Game 3. He scored 42 points with 89 percent shooting efficiency, eight rebounds and three steals to lead the Suns to a 19-point blowout victory that gave them control of the series. The ruthlessly efficient Richardson gave Rip City fans the best shooting display on this list and the second-most productive playoff game in the last 20 years by a big-time scorer.

The Suns won the series in six games by closing the Blazers out in front of their own crowd. Talk about being murdered on your own shit...

7. Dirk Nowitzki
Two murders. Highlight: At Portland Trailblazers on April 25, 2003

There are only six seconds of good video from Dirk’s best road game in the playoffs? Sounds about right.

The Dallas Mavericks had a tough playoff run in 2003, but it didn’t start out that way.The Mavs took a 3-0 series lead in their first round match-up against the always-injured Blazers with Scottie Pippen and Derek Anderson out after knee injuries. Doesn’t it seem like it’s always the knees in Portland?

Dirk led the Mavs in Game 3 by scoring 42 points with 88 percent shooting efficiency, 10 rebounds and two steals. Between Nowitzki and Richardson, Rip City saw the two best shooting performances in the last 20 years while their team was getting murdered on their own floor.

Portland fans probably weren’t worried about that in 2003 as the Blazers won the next three games to force a Game 7 in Dallas. The Mavs won and advanced to the Western Conference Semifinals where Nick Van Exel would murder the Sacramento Kings on their own shit.

Eight years later, an older and much less productive Dirk murdered the Oklahoma City Thunder at the Ford Center in Game 4 of the 2011 Western Conference Finals with 40 points, 65 percent shooting efficiency and five rebounds.

6. Hakeem Olajuwon
Two murders. Highlight: At San Antonio Spurs on May 24, 1995

It all began innocently enough with David Stern handing David Robinson the 1995 MVP award. Olajuwon snapped sometime during that ceremony. In a homicidal rage, he proceeded to murder one of the nicest guys in the NBA (they named the Community Assist Award after him) right in front of his home crowd and his MVP trophy.

When it was all over, and the blood started to dry on the Maurice Podoloff Trophy, Olajuwon had scored 41 points with 58 percent shooting efficiency, 16 rebounds, three steals, four assists and two blocks to lead the Rockets to a 106-96 win in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals and a 2-0 series lead heading back to Houston. In an odd twist, the Spurs won both games on the road and came back to the Alamodome tied 2-2 with the Rockets and very much alive in the series.

Olajuwon murdered them again in Game 5 by scoring 42 points with 63 percent shooting efficiency, nine rebounds, eight assists and five blocks to power the Rockets to a 21-point blowout and kill any hopes of redemption for Robinson. The Rockets won Game 6 and The Admiral admitted there was no solution for the Olajuwon problem.

The Rockets went on to win the 1995 NBA Finals by sweeping the Orlando Magic to complete their “Murder You On Your Own Shit” Award Tour through the playoffs. As the sixth-seed in the West, they eliminated the top three-seeds in their conference and the No. 1 seed from the Eastern Conference.

It’s a run that hasn’t been duplicated since Olajuwon went straight Keyser Soze on the NBA in 1995.

Stay tuned for the top five players in the "Murdered You On Your Own Shit" Award Series: NBA Playoffs Edition. Check out Part One and Part Two.

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