Saturday, May 21, 2011

Bench Players

The big name players sell jerseys but they may not necessarily always be the reason a team wins. As expected, the two superstars in the Western Conference Finals have been at the top of their game. However, because these two superstars are so great, the play of Dirk Nowitzki and Kevin Durant essentially cancel each other out and it is up to the bench to step up and beat the other team's bench. In game 2 of this series, two Thunder players stepped up to the challenge, namely James Harden and Nick Collison, to help them tie up the series.

Harden has stepped up a lot during the playoffs and has become somewhat of a leader despite being only 21 years of age. At a time when Durant is attracting a lot of attention from the Dallas defense and when Westbrook is not playing his best, Harden has picked up the slack and has brought a lot of energy for the Thunder. He played a great game in game 2 of the Western Conference Finals, finishing with 23 points on just nine shot attempts, seven rebounds, four assists, and two steals. Not too bad for a player coming off the bench! Even though he may seem mediocre in every and not outstanding in any one area, he plays hard every minute he's on the court and creates opportunities for his team that helps them gain momentum.

Another Thunder bench player that has been exceptional in the playoffs is Nick Collison. Though Collison may not be the strongest or tallest player in the paint, he has been solid on both ends of the court for the Thunder. He has done a good job defending superstar Nowitzki and has grabbed some pretty important rebounds for his team. His numbers may not say much but Collison has definitely contributed greatly to the success of the Thunder because he is out there hustling every play. They will definitely need him out there if they want to move on to the Finals.

Looking forward to a good game 3 tonight!


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