The NBA Playoffs, the most magical time of a year.
Victories aren't pulled out of a hat, but earned in the pregame preparation, the offseason dedication, the cumulative dreams and determination acquired in a lifetime. They come from grit and precision. It is a soutenu of skill, will and opportunity on a stage where high performance can bring more than bravos, but immortality.
The playoffs are special because individual performances are amplified. They impact teams, series, cities, the history of the game. No one forgets Jordan's Game 6, Reggie's 8.9 seconds or Magic at center.
Even in the shadow of the prime time spotlight, plays are the offensive rebounds, hard-nosed defense, a quick pick that can make or break a team. The playoffs are the time where you can either win and make history, or lose and be history, and the performance of a given individual can make that difference.
As Ahmed Rashad said in an ESPN 30 for 30 documentary, "There is a time to play and a time to win. What you do in winning time differentiates the average players from the stars." The playoffs are that time, that moment, that fleeting chance.
Here's a list of the players who are seizing the moment and will have the biggest impact down the stretch.