Big 12 alumni star in NBA Playoffs

Mark Roberson

The regular season has come and gone and now we find ourselves in the midst of the NBA playoffs.

Several former Big 12 players are in the heat of battle, many of whom will have a chance to make an impact for their teams.

Starting in the West, a few notable former Big 12 athletes just lead their team to victory in three tight fought, seven games series.

LaMarcus Aldridge of the Portland Trailblazers has been locked in as of late, dominating the Houston Rockets in the first two games of the series and forcing Houston to focus on him down the stretch.

While Damien Lillard sealed the deal, Aldridge, a former Longhorn, played an important role in pushing his team into the second round of this year’s playoffs.

Next is likely MVP Kevin Durant and his Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder, the number two seed in the West, were supposed to run away from the Memphis Grizzlies in this best of seven series, but nothing in the Western Conference is ever that easy.

Durant struggled to live up to the expectations he set for himself throughout the series, facing heavy criticism from media and fans alike. Nonetheless, the former Longhorn was able lead his team to victory in game seven and advance to the second round.

The last major player in the West is Blake Griffin with the Los Angeles Clippers. The former Oklahoma star has had to deal with major off-court issues in the past week due to the recent remarks from Clippers owner Donald Sterling.

Despite all the turmoil surrounding the team, the Clippers were able to squeak past the Warriors in game seven and move on to face the Thunder in the second round.

In the East, we have the Brooklyn Nets’ Paul Pierce. He too was able to lead his team to victory in seven games.

Pierce, a former Jayhawk, brings veteran playoff experience to the Nets along with longtime teammate Kevin Garnett, both have been on the championship stage together several times before.

Last is Mario Chalmers of the Miami Heat. The former Kansas point guard has helped the Heat to two championships in the last two years.

Miami has looked good so far this post season, winning four straight against the Bobcats in order to advance to the second round.

Chalmers and Miami will take on Brooklyn in the second round.