Top 5 Clutch Performers in the 2014 NBA Playoffs

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Photo Courtesy of slgckgc, licensed through Flickr via Creative Commons

The NBA’s statisticians have been working overtime in the 2014 playoffs, which have been described as the greatest in the history of the league. According to the numbers, the amount of tension-filled minutes in regulation and overtime has doubled compared to 2013.

Nowhere is this fact plainer to see than in the amount of “clutch” minutes teams have played so far in the 2014 NBA Playoffs. NBA.com, which denotes clutch time as the period when there’s five minutes or fewer on the clock in regulation or overtime and the scores of the two teams are within five points of one another. Considering there have been eight overtimes already (a record in any round of any playoffs) and four in the Oklahoma-Memphis series alone (another record), clutch time has ballooned in 2014.

NBA.com’s stat team corralled this data into a viewable format as the first round of the playoffs closed. Here are the five best clutch performers in the 2014 NBA Playoffs.

1. Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers

The Blazers’ Damian Lillard has had a sensational series against the Houston Rockets in the first round of the playoffs. If he has seemed to get better in the clutch, the statistics say that’s exactly what he’s done for Portland. In 28 clutch minutes against Houston, Lillard shot 7-14 from the field and went 11-11 in free-throws for a total of 26 points. Lillard added 7 rebounds and 3 assists in those minutes for a playoff-best plus/minus of 20. That’s serious performance when the game is on the line.

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