Midway through the first round of the playoffs, it’s no surprise that the NBA’s superstars are putting up big numbers, but those impressive individual stat lines don’t always lead to victory.
Take Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard, for example. Memphis edged San Antonio 110-108 in overtime Saturday night to even the series at 2-2. But Leonard made NBA history with his 43-point, eight-rebound effort, as ESPN Stats & Info reported via Elias:
He was, indeed, doing it all.
Leonard wasn’t the first to have an outstanding showing overshadowed by defeat in the first round. Of the six players who have put forth 40-point performances, five have done so in losses.
Gordon Hayward scored 40 and had eight rebounds for Utah in a 111-106 loss Friday against the Clippers. Portland guard CJ McCollum posted a similar line – 41 points and eight rebounds – in last Sunday’s 121-109 loss to Golden State.
Battling Russell Westbrook and the Thunder, James Harden scored 44 in the Rockets’ two-point loss Friday. On Wednesday, Westbrook scored 51 points en route to yet another triple-double as Oklahoma City taking a 115-111 loss. Westbrook’s 51 points required 43 shots from the field.
Over in the Eastern Conference, Paul George came one assist short of a triple-double with 36 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists Thursday as the Pacers lost to Cleveland 119-114.
Big performances on both sides helps make for entertaining games, as NBA fans have expressed on social media.