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2011 NBA Playoffs: Top Five Performances from the Opening Weekend

Josh BennettContributor IOctober 12, 2016

2011 NBA Playoffs: Top Five Performances from the Opening Weekend

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    Dwyane Wade mans the Miami Heat, refusing an upset from the Philadelphia 76ers.Marc Serota/Getty Images

    So far, so good. The opening game of each first-round playoff series has lived up to my expectations and with each came some really exciting moments.

    Dwyane Wade, Ray Allen, Dwight Howard, Derrick Rose and Zach Randolph, please give yourselves a pat on the back—you made the list.

    Win or lose, some of the previously mentioned players gave it their all—showing the NBA playoff intensity I love.

No 1: Dwyane Wade's Final 1:34 on Saturday

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    Wade nails a tough bank shot to push the Heat past a potential comeback by the Sixers.Marc Serota/Getty Images

    Dwyane Wade gets the number-one spot because of the importance of his presence. 

    It may not have been the most impressive, but it was the most defining moment of the weekend—in my opinion.

    Wade struggled all game, both with scoring and foul trouble—a rarity for the star player.

    It wasn't until the clock hit 1:34 in the fourth quarter that Wade played a key role for the Heat. At that moment, Wade sank a 14-foot jumper—a dagger, if you ask me.

    Not only was the shot very impressive, it was also the most important play of the weekend. 

    The Heat have struggled to find their closer this season, but if game one means anything, Wade solved the mystery for the Heat. 

    If the Heat can have consistency from Wade as a finisher, they'll have a legitimate chance at making a run for the NBA Finals.

No. 2: Derrick Rose's Desire to Win

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    Derrick Rose puts on his backpack and carries the weight of the Chicago Bulls, all to defeat the eight-seeded Indian Pacers that were threatening an upset.Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Derrick Rose would have taken the number-one spot if it wasn't for one statistic—his three-point shooting.

    I loved watching him for the entirety of the game. No matter how hard the Indiana Pacers would try to pull away, Rose wasn't going to let them get away.

    The Bulls trailed all game long, until Rose dished it to Kyle Korver for the go-ahead three—a shot Rose couldn't hit all night.

    It really bothered me to watch Rose jack up three pointers that he couldn't make. He finished the night 0-9 from beyond the arc, but it disgusts me because he took so many shots. Wouldn't you stop shooting long balls after going 0-5? Not Rose, he kept going and it kept hurting. 

    Nonetheless, Rose was the reason the Bulls survived the Pacers.

No. 3: Dwight Howards Monstrous Stat Line

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    Not even the entirety of the Atlanta Hawks team could stop Dwight Howard from running train on the offensive side of the ball.J. Meric/Getty Images

    46 points and 19 rebounds. Need I say more? Yes, but only because the Orlando Magic still failed to win. 

    This goes to show that stat lines are pointless.

    Howard finds himself at number three because of the Magic's failure to clip the Hawks. 

    It was still exciting to watch Howard earn his own little "personal victory."

No. 4: Ray Allen's Fearlessness from Long Distance

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    Ray Allen shoves in the dagger to avoid a game-one upset by the New York Knicks.Elsa/Getty Images

    The Boston Celtics have the ball with 21 seconds of regulation left down by one and it seems like the smart thing would be to hold the ball for the last shot. Ray Allen has different plans—swish. 

    It was shocking to see Allen jack up a three-point shot, while leaving the New York Knicks with time on the clock—12 seconds to be exact—but hey, it worked.

    Allen's shot made my jaw drop and was easily the best play of the weekend.

No. 5: Zach Randolph Being the Difference Maker

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    Zach Randolph and Tony Allen showing some teammate love as they beat the number-one seeded San Antonio Spurs.Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Talking sports with my friends, I explained that the only way the Memphis Grizzlies would stand a chance against the San Antonio Spurs was through hard play by Zach Randolph.

    Well, I was right. 

    Randolph had 25 points and 14 rebounds—nothing too special, but enough to put him in the top five.

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