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Kentucky Basketball: NBA Playoff Update

The latest on all the former Cats left standing in this spring’s NBA Playoffs.

NBA: Playoffs-New Orleans Pelicans at Golden State Warriors Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

When the first game of the 2018 NBA Playoffs tipped, there were 13 former Kentucky Wildcats rostered. With the second round underway, only five remain.

Interestingly enough, they are all members of the New Orleans Pelicans. Unfortunately for the other eight, they were members of the following teams who were bounced in round 1: Indiana Pacers, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves, Oklahoma City Thunder and Washington Wizards.

The Pelicans, though, are coming off a blowout win over the Golden State Warriors in Game 3 of the Western Conference Semi Finals, cutting the Warriors’ series lead to 2-1. They were led by monster performances from former Wildcats Anthony Davis (33 points and 18 rebounds) and Rajon Rondo (21 assists and 10 rebounds). But first, here are the players who were eliminated in the first round.

Players Eliminated

Players Left Standing

Anthony Davis

Davis has been the heart and soul of his Pelicans team this postseason. Following his huge Game 3, he’s now averaging 30.1 points, 12.9 rebounds and 2.3 blocks this postseason. Davis has yet again made the case as to why he’s one of the better five players in the Association. His team will need him to play up to par or better in Game 4 if they wish to even the series at 2-2.

Darius Miller

Miller has had an unimaginable journey to the NBA. From bouncing from the Pelicans, the Iowa Energy (D-League), Brose Bamberg (Germany) and back to the Pelicans, he has finally found his role in the league. Averaging 5.4 points per game may not seem significant, but shooting over 38% from behind the arc keeps the defense honest and makes life easy on Davis.

DeAndre Liggins

Liggins, like Miller, has also bounced around the league. However, instead of just three teams, he’s played for 11 in just seven seasons. Unlike Miller, though, he’s averaging just 1 point per contest and seeing just 6 minutes.

Demarcus Cousins

What this team could have been... The Pelicans were looking like a fringe title contender before Cousins went down with a season-ending torn achilles. While the team managed to rally around MVP candidate Anthony Davis, unless you’re Brad Stevens, it’s nearly impossible to replace All-NBA talents. Cousins was averaging 25.2 points and 12.9 rebounds per game before his injury. He had also finally found his niche in a winning system. It will be interesting to see both how the Pelicans fare going forward as well what his future holds this summer when he hits unrestricted free agency.

Rajon Rondo

There isn’t a better fit in the league for Rondo than the Pelicans. Last summer, the team locked up scoring guard Jrue Holiday to a near-max deal. They then added Rondo to shoulder the ball-handling and playmaking duties. It’s no coincidence that Cousins, Davis and Holiday all had arguably their best years as pros. In his 13th season, Rondo is averaging a double-double of 11.4 points and 13.9 assists this postseason. That’s not to mention his defense on Damian Lillard in the first round was at its peak. The Pelicans will need that same mindset from Rondo in Game 4.

Game 4 of the Pelicans’ series with the Warriors is set for Sunday at 3:30 P.M. EDT. The Pelicans will need a repeat of Friday night’s efforts to even the series at 2-2. For more updates on Cats in the NBA, check back with