Big Dog playing 'D' among playoff surprises

Some reserves are standouts, some stars have disappeared. John Hollinger tracks the best postseason shockers.

Originally Published: May 9, 2005
By John Hollinger | ESPN Insider
Finally, some excitement. This season's playoffs had been a No-Doz special, with six straight thumpings to begin the second round before the Indiana Pacers scored one for the underdogs on Wednesday. But while the conference semis aren't providing as much drama as we might like, we've still had plenty of surprises this postseason.

I'm not just talking about Jerome James, either. Besides, he's back to earth now that he's playing an opponent with a two-legged center. The Seattle SuperSonics' pivot's numbers against the San Antonio Spurs in the second round (6.0 points, 4.5 rebounds per game) are more a reflection of his true ability.

However, here are 10 other surprises this postseason that have garnered less attention than James:

10. Dwyane's World

Dwyane Wade continues to find new ways to expand his game. Instead of slashing all the way to the basket, the Miami Heat super sophomore has been locating teammates at the rim with increasing frequency. On Tuesday, his 15-assist effort against the Washington Wizards included several high handoffs to Udonis Haslem and Shaquille O'Neal, and it was no fluke. Wade is second in playoff assists per 40 minutes at 9.2, a big increase on his regular-season rate of 7.0.

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