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As the NBA playoffs start to heat up, PRF introduces himself to Mizzourah with a look at former Mizzou Tigers and how they've faired in the NBA in recent years.

First off, I would like to thank the former writers of Mizzourahblog.com for bringing in our team and allowing us the opportunity to expand on the success they had with this website. I look forward to being a part of the Mizzourah community over the next year. I just hope most of the columns by my fellow staff stay clear of approaching Bill Simmons’ territory in length so that I can actually make it through them.

You see, we are already taking jabs at each other here at Mizzourah and encourage you to do the same. Feedback is the greatest part of this job. Hearing opinions not only makes us better writers, but it also let’s us know that people care about what we have to say. So here’s your first chance to give my work two thumbs up or thumbs down. Please, have at it…

Since no readers here know me (yet), you wouldn’t know that I am a huge NBA fan. In fact, unlike 95% of other American sports fans, the NBA is my favorite sports league or association. I love the game more than football and baseball. I love the personalities of Lebron, Dwight, and Birdman more than those of the Manning’s, A-Rod, and Ochocinco. I like knowing every detail about every player on every 12-man roster from Portland to OKC to New York. But most of all, I love the playoffs (and all the awful advertising that comes with it.)

Playoff performances by MJ, Magic, Duncan, and Shaq will never be forgotten. Those guys are global legends. But what about the local legends? You think you remember the NBA playoff performances by the most notable Mizzou Tigers? Have a look.

 

Anthony Peeler:

One of Mizzou’s most recognizable names, Peeler averaged 23.4 PPG during his senior season as a Tiger. Lefty’s best postseason ever came in the 97-98 season with the Minnesota T-pups as he averaged 16.2 PPG. In this season where Dikembe Mutombo reigned as defensive player of the year, Peeler’s stellar play could not carry the Wolves past Cocaine Kemp and Payton in Seattle. Minnesota lost in five (yet another first round exit for KG) and Peeler never reached double figures in postseason scoring averages again. But, at least he gave his former teammate a good whack later in his career.

 

Troy Hudson:

Although he didn’t finish his career at Mizzou, I decided I’d put him on here anyway. Hudson had the best NBA playoff performance ever by a Missouri Tiger during the ’02-’03 season. During that season the Wolves won 51 games and Hudson was the team’s third option, averaging 14.2 PPG and 5.7 Assists. Hudson was electric throughout the entire first round series against the Los Angeles Lakers. The Wolves were blown out in Game 1 at home, but bounced back nicely to win Games 2 and 3. They had a lead in Game 4 in LA with a chance to take a 3-1 series advantage, but as always during the Garnett in Minnesota era, they lost the series. No fault on Hudson though as he averaged 23.5 PPG, shot 44% from three, and dropped in 5.5 assists per contest. Oh, and he gave us this epic highlight.

Linas Kleiza:

Kleiza is the man and it was upsetting to see him leave the NBA to go play overseas for Olympiacos. Oh well, he will likely get a ring this year with Josh Childress and the other debt-ridden Greeks that make up that Euro league roster. When looking up the stats of my favorite Lithuanian since Arvydas Sabonis, I will admit that the numbers jumped out quite a bit. Kleiza had a fantastic season in 07-08, averaging 11.1 PPG during the regular season and 14 PPG during the playoffs. The Lithuanian Liquidator even dropped in a career-high 41 points against the Utah Jazz during the regular season. His Nuggets won 50 games and took on the Lakers as the 8-seed in the first round. None of the games were even close as the Lakers swept the series and the Denver-Iverson experiment materialized into complete failure.

 

Kareem Rush:

Rush is my favorite player in Missouri basketball history and the sole reason I went on Eastbay.com when I was 11 years old and bought a pair of Missouri basketball shorts (for some reason I bought Michigan ones as well). Rush’s NBA career was modest. Ditto for his individual NBA playoff career. But, he did have a chance to get a ring in 03-04 playing for LA. The Lakers logged 22 games in that postseason and rush tallied 3 PPG on 39% shooting. Maybe if Kobe and Shaq had gotten together a couple times to listen to this song they would’ve meshed better and beaten Detroit in the Finals to sustain their empire.

 

Keyon Dooling:

Funky name but some non-funky performances for Dooling throughout his playoff career. The backup PG steadily averaged 7.1 PPG in 29 career playoff games for Miami and Orlando. Nice work Keyon! And again, Nice work Keyon!

 

--- PRF