Apr 2, 2013, 4:02 AM EDT
Third Star: Rudy Gay (34 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists)
He put up big numbers and did it shooting efficiently — 13-of-18 from the field, getting to the free throw line four times. And for three quarters he played some good basketball, his jumper was falling. But in the fourth quarter, when the Pistons bench won the game, his shot selection seemed forced. Sometimes he tries to take over tames when he should just let the game flow to him. Still, that was too gaudy a stat line not to make the list.
Second star: Nikola Pekovic (29 points, 5 rebounds)
This really was a pretty simple equation: no Kevin Garnett = Nikola Pekovic can do whatever he wants. So he did. Pekovic had 15 points in the first quarter and he was controlling the paint. The Celtics started to double him — particularly in the second half — but that just opened the door for other players to step because they had room to operate.
First Star: Roy Hibbert (26 points, 10 rebounds)
THAT is the Roy Hibbert the Pacers need in the playoffs. He had 15 points in the first quarter and was trouble for the Clippers in the paint at both ends of the floor. He owned DeAndre Jordan, which is one of the reasons the Pacers won the game. That and the tone and energy Hibbert had from the opening tip. He fouled out with 1:35 left in the game but hot free throw shooting down the stretch won it for the Pacers.
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