The quest for a championship ended prematurely for the 2014-15 Kentucky Wildcats, but the postseason is just about to kick off for eight former UK standouts as the NBA Playoffs tip off Saturday.
Perhaps no ex-Cat will be more excited than Anthony Davis, who will make his postseason debut for New Orleans against top-seeded Golden State, owners of the league's best record.
Davis, just three years removed from winning a championship at UK, had 31 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks in a must-win 108-103 victory over San Antonio on Wednesday night to give New Orleans its first playoff berth since 2011 — and the team's first under the Pelicans nickname.
Davis led the league in blocked shots at 2.9 a game and was fourth in scoring with 24.4 point a game, behind Stephen Curry (28.1), James Harden (27.4) and LeBron James (25.3), and just ahead of fellow ex-Cat DeMarcus Cousins (24.1).
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John Wall led Washington into the postseason for the second straight year, and again as a No. 5 seed. Wall averaged a career-best 10.0 assists a game in the regular season, second in the league behind only Chris Paul.
Wall's Wizards will face the fourth-seeded Toronto Raptors, for whom Patrick Patterson plays a key role off the bench. The fifth-year forward averaged 8.0 points and 5.3 rebounds. The Raptors, coached by former UK player Dwane Casey, won a franchise-record 49 games this season. Chuck Hayes also plays limited minutes for Toronto.
The seventh-seeded Dallas Mavericks will look for Rajon Rondo — he of numerous big-time playoff performances while sporting Boston green — to conjure his postseason magic as they aim to get past No. 2 Houston. He averaged 9.3 points and 6.5 assists after being traded to Dallas midseason.
Rondo and the Mavs will probably be focused on containing MVP candidate James Harden, but Terrence Jones figures to be a tough matchup, too. Jones has averaged 11.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in 33 games since returning from a nerve injury that held him out for most of the early part of the season.
Nazr Mohammed will be on a playoff roster for the 11th time and for a third straight season with Chicago. Mohammed, in his 17th NBA season, plays trace minutes for the No. 3 Bulls, who face off against the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Boston Celtics will take on the second-seeded Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round. James Young, a year out of UK, spent most of his season with the D-League's Maine Red Claws and isn't expected to contribute much for Boston this postseason.