NBA playoffs have no shortage of Tobacco Road ties

cwright@newsobserver.comApril 19, 2013 

  • By The Numbers

    40 Ex-Duke star Grant Hill’s age. Not only is he the oldest NCAA champion in the playoffs but also the oldest player.

    14 Playoff teams (out of 16) with a UNC or Duke player.

    11 NCAA champions from Duke and UNC are in the mix.

    10 Ex-Blue Devils in playoffs.

    9 Ex-Tar Heels in playoffs.

    4 Ex-Demon Deacons in playoffs.

    4 NBA titles for Wake Forest’s Tim Duncan, the Big Four’s active ring leader. Duke’s Shane Battier has one. Everybody else is hunting for their first.

    4 Duke stars from the 2001 title team: Battier, Carlos Boozer, Mike Dunleavy and Chris Duhon.

    4 UNC stars from the 2009 title team: Ty Lawson, Tyler Hansbrough, Danny Green and Ed Davis.

    2 NCAA titles for Hill, tied with Joakim Noah, Al Horford and Corey Brewer for most among playoff participants.

  • Big Four ties

    Here is a look at how the area’s 23 players have fared in the NBA playoffs (* denotes NCAA champion):

    Eastern Conference
    Team Player College NBA titles G PPG
    No. 1 Miami vs. No. 8 Milwaukee
    *MiamiShane BattierDuke1747.3
    MilwaukeeJ.J. RedickDuke0446.8
    *MilwaukeeMike DunleavyDuke055.0
    MilwaukeeIsh Smith Wake Forest060.7
    MilwaukeeJohn HensonUNC000.0

    No. 2 New York vs. No. 7 Boston
    *New YorkRaymond FeltonUNC0911.7
    BostonShavlik RandolphDuke021.5

    No. 3 Indiana vs. No. 6 Atlanta
    *IndianaTyler HansbroughUNC0166.5
    *IndianaMiles PlumleeDuke000.0
    AtlantaDahntay JonesDuke0335.9
    AtlantaJeff TeagueWake Forest0238.4

    No. 4 Brooklyn vs. No. 5 Chicago
    BrooklynJerry StackhouseUNC07113.8
    *ChicagoCarlos BoozerDuke06617.8
    ChicagoLoul DengDuke04317.0
    Western Conference
    No. 2 San Antonio vs. No. 7 L.A. Lakers
    San AntonioTim DuncanWake Forest419022.3
    *San AntonioDanny GreenUNC0186.0
    L.A. LakersAntawn JamisonUNC04218.1
    *L.A. LakersChris DuhonDuke0274.0

    No. 3 Denver vs. No. 6 Golden State
    *DenverTy LawsonUNC01814.3
    Golden StateHarrison BarnesUNC000.0

    No. 4 L.A. Clippers vs. No. 5 Memphis
    *L.A. ClippersGrant HillDuke03813.7
    L.A. ClippersChris PaulWake Forest03420.5
    *MemphisEd DavisUNC000.0

The ACC and NCAA tournaments came and went without much local fanfare.

Maybe the NBA playoffs, which start Saturday, will provide redemption for some of the 23 players who called Tobacco Road home.

All eight Eastern Conference teams feature at least one Duke or North Carolina player, and just like then, they’re in each other’s way. All four first-round matchups feature Blue Devils and Tar Heels on opposite sides of center court.

Among the more interesting reunions: The Miami-Milwaukee series has a bit of everything. It pits rivals vs. rivals and, when Shane Battier tries to lock down Mike Dunleavy or J.J. Redick, teammate against teammate. Tyler Hansbrough and Dahntay Jones wore different shades of blue in college, were NBA teammates for three seasons but now will clash again when Indiana takes on Atlanta.

Two of the four Western Conference series follow suit and a third, Golden State vs. Denver, at times could look like a summer day at the Smith Center, with Ty Lawson trying to break Harrison Barnes’ ankles off the dribble.

The only series without a Triangle tie is Oklahoma City vs. Houston, and even that almost does.

Kevin Durant chose Texas over North Carolina, so if his Thunder wins it all, put a baby blue asterisk beside it.

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