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Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) reacts to an official's call during the first half against the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday, March 10, 2019 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. (Ryan Michalesko/Dallas Morning News/TNS)

This article contains opinion.

 

With more than half the field ready to tip off in the second round of the NBA Playoffs, we have seen some players who have come up big for their teams in the first round and will look to carry their momentum into their teams’ next matchups. 

As of Wednesday afternoon, the playoffs’ leading scorer thus far was Damian Lillard of the Trailblazers. 

The Trailblazers were able to take out the Thunder in just five games behind a stellar performance from their star point guard. Lillard is putting up 33 points per game (PPG) so far while managing to shoot more than 46 percent from the field so far. 

He’s shooting better from 3-point land, where he is shooting more than 48 percent in the playoffs and, after Tuesday night’s game-winning 30-footer, is now 5-5 on shots more than 30 feet in this year’s playoffs. 

The Blazers will play the winner of the Nuggets-Spurs series in the next round. 

One of the favorites to win the MVP is Giannis Antetokuonmpo, who led his Bucks to a four-game sweep of the Pistons in the first round. Antetokuonmpo was efficient as always in the series, putting up more than 26 PPG on more than 52 percent shooting while managing to grab 12 boards per game and block 1.5 shots per contest. 

Before bashing his scoring output, fans need to realize that Antetokuonmpo has played only 28 minutes per game in the first round because his team managed to out score the Pistons by more than 23 points per contest in the series. 

The Bucks will have a tougher matchup in the second round against the Celtics who are getting hot at the right time. 

On the other end of the MVP conversation sits James Harden of the Houston Rockets who are one win away from advancing to the next round. 

Harden’s stat line has been solid from a quantity perspective so far in the playoffs, putting up 28.3 PPG, 8.5 APG and 7 RPG.

 Although the quantity is there for Harden, he has been doing it in an ugly fashion shooting only 37.1 percent from the field while also giving away just shy of six turnovers per contest. 

Harden will have to find a way to be more efficient next round with a tougher matchup on the way.

As the NBA playoffs roll on, it will be interesting to see how the stars propel their teams to greatness.

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