There were actually multiple performances worthy of recognition on Sunday, but three stood out as most deserving. And sometimes, the guys who have been the primary force behind their team’s championship effort in the past show up during the regular season. On to the winners.
Third Star: Paul Pierce (27 points, 14 rebounds, 14 assists, 54 minutes in Celtics triple-OT win over Nuggets)
Just … wow. Boston won its seventh straight game since Rajon rondo went down for the season with a torn ACL injury, and the team couldn’t have done it without the effort of Paul Pierce. It was his second triple-double of the season, and the shot near the end of the second overtime to send it to the game’s third extra session over Andre Miller was as good as it gets.
Second Star: Dwyane Wade (30 points, 12-18 shooting, 5 assists, 3 steals in Heat’s win over Lakers)
Wade was as critical to the Heat’s winning effort on Sunday as was LeBron James, if not more so. Every time James was on the bench — either due to foul trouble in the first half or simply just to get some rest to start the fourth — Wade responded, and carried his team offensively, often extending the lead while his all-world teammate sat and watched. This dunk in transition midway through the third fired up the crowd, and was his most spectacular play offensively.
First Star: LeBron James (32 points, 12-18 shooting, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals)
LeBron was just as dominant as Wade, but by tying an NBA record with his fifth straight game scoring at least 30 points while shooting 60 percent or better from the field, he gets the top spot. Also, he was on the receiving end of the game’s signature highlight, so he’s got that going for him — which is nice.