Heading into the second round of the playoffs, TNT polled analysts Reggie Miller, Greg Anthony and Grant Hill on the playoffs so far.
On “Three Players to Watch in the Second Round,” Miller credited The Oklahoman’s headline for inspiring Kevin Durant. “The Oklahoman headline was probably the best thing to happen to KD — it woke him up! ‘Mr. Reliable’ will show why he will earn his first MVP title.”
Miller also listed Clippers center DeAndre Jordan and Pacers center Roy Hibbert in the category. On Jordan, Miller said: “He is playing at an all-time high level for (coach) Doc Rivers after being slighted for Defensive Player of the Year. He is showing how important defense is for the Clippers.”
Grant Hill listed Clippers guard Chris Paul among his players to watch. Hill said, “Russell Westbrook's play will be a challenge for him. Chris Paul has been hampered by a hamstring injury, and matched up against Westbrook, will he be able to physically go after him? If Chris can play well on both sides of the ball, the Clippers can go on.”
In the category “Which Team or Player Made the Biggest First-Round statement,” Hill picked the Clippers. “In terms of what they’ve gone through and all the adversity, how they were able to stay focused and rally around each other in the midst of all these distractions, I’d have to point toward them. I think that (adversity) can help them. It can help galvanize them as they go up against a team that they’ve struggled against in Oklahoma City.”