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NBA Playoffs 2011: A Look at the 10 Best Playoff Performances so Far

Sean ClairCorrespondent IMay 6, 2011

NBA Playoffs 2011: A Look at the 10 Best Playoff Performances so Far

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 02:  Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks reacts in the fourth quarter while taking on the Los Angeles Lakers in Game One of the Western Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 2, 2011 in Los Ange
    Harry How/Getty Images

    Star players have stepped up and showed that they know how to perform on the biggest stage. Star performances have helped teams win not only games, but series as well.

    However, we have also seen good performances result in losses for some teams. 

    Great performances will continue the rest of this postseason, so let's look at the top 10 up to this point.

10. Dwyane Wade

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    MIAMI, FL - APRIL 27: Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat dunks during game five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs against the Philadelphia 76ers at American Airlines Arena on April 27, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: Use
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Wade is, without question, the leader of the Heat. He should be taking the shot if the game is on line and be the voice of the team.

    He showed his leadership in Game 3 against the 76ers in their first-round series. He went for 32 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists in the Heat's six-point win, which gave them a 3-0 lead in the series.

    James and Bosh need to become the Robin to Wade's Batman for this team to succeed from here on out.

9. Brandon Roy

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    PORTLAND, OR - APRIL 23:  Brandon Roy #7 of the Portland Trail Blazers runs down court after making a shot to overcome a 23 point deficit to defeat the the Dallas Mavericks 84-82 in Game Four of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoff
    Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

    Probably one of the most heartwarming stories of the playoffs so far. Roy was upset over playing time early in the Blazers' first-round series against the Mavericks, but he eventually got the time and showed up.

    With his team down by as many as 20 in the second half of Game 4, Roy took it upon himself to bring his team back. In 24 minutes, Roy scored 24 points and was the man down the stretch as the Blazers rallied to tie the series at two-all.

    You can only root for Roy for years to come, as he is a true star when healthy in this league.

8. Zach Randolph

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    OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - MAY 01:  Forward Zach Randolph #50 of the Memphis Grizzlies reacts against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game One of the Western Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 1, 2011 at Oklahoma City Arena in Oklahoma City, Okla
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Zach Randolph has probably been the MVP of the playoffs so far. 

    He played flawlessly against the Spurs in the first round and has shown great leadership.

    His best performance, however, came in Game 1 of the conference semis against the Thunder. He went for 34 points and 10 rebounds while shooting 10-of-22 from the field.

    For the Grizzlies to move on, he will need to play like this every night.

7. Joe Johnson

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    CHICAGO, IL - MAY 04: Joe Johnson #2 of the Atlanta Hawks moves against Ronnie Brewer #11 of the Chicago Bulls in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at the United Center on May 4, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls de
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    The Hawks' best player is Joe Johnson, but for them to win, it has to be a team effort.

    However, Johnson made sure he carried his team to a Game 1 win against the Bulls in the conference semis. Thirty-four points and going 5-of-5 from the three-point line helped his team win its first conference semifinals game in over 10 years.

    The Hawks go home tied 1-1 with the Bulls, and Johnson needs a few more great performances for this team to advance.

6. Derrick Rose

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    CHICAGO, IL - MAY 04: Derrick Rose #1 of the Chicago Bulls holds up the Maurice Podoloff Trophy awarded to the NBA Most Valuable Player before taking on the Atlanta Hawks in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at the Uni
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    The MVP of the league has had his fair share of MVP moments in the postseason so far. 

    His best performance to date has been his 39-point, six-rebound, six-assist performance in Game 1 against the Pacers in the first round. It wasn't just his stat line, however. It was his will to bring his team back after trailing the entire game.

    The Bulls are the No. 1 seed in the East, and they must ride Rose if they want the title.

5. Dirk Nowitzki

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 04:  Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks shoots over Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers in the first quarter in Game Two of the Western Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 4, 2011 in Los
    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    Dirk is starting to become that closer the Mavericks needed a few years ago in the NBA Finals.

    He played great against the Blazers in Round 1 and is now a nightmare guard for everyone on the Lakers. See his Game 1 performance in which he went for 28 points on 11-of-22 field goals, along with 14 rebounds.

    With a 2-0 lead the Mavericks are looking good with Dirk leading them.

4. Carmelo Anthony

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    BOSTON, MA - APRIL 19:  Carmelo Anthony #7 of the New York Knicks grabs the rebound in the first quarter against the Boston Celtics in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 19, 2011 at the TD Garden in Boston,
    Elsa/Getty Images

    Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks had their ups and downs after he was traded to New York. Unfortunately, those ups and downs caught up to them in their sweep against the Celtics.

    The first two games in Boston were very close, however, and Anthony was to thank, especially in Game 2. His 42 points and 17 rebounds almost helped the Knicks win, as Anthony was basically alone with Chauncey Billups and Amar'e Stoudemire both out with injuries. 

    The Knicks should be better next season as their team chemistry grows.

3. Kevin Durant

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    OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - APRIL 27: Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder looks to the bench after hitting a key three-point shot against the Denver Nuggets in Game Five of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 27, 2011
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    The NBA scoring leader made sure his team's first-round series with the Nuggets ended after five games.

    With the Thunder up 3-1 and at home in Game 5, Durant took over late in a very close game. Durant scored 41 points total, including the last nine for his team, as he made clutch shots to close out the series.

    Durant and the Thunder have a very bright future that is starting now in this postseason.

2. Dwight Howard

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    ORLANDO, FL - APRIL 26:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic rebounds against the Atlanta Hawks during Game Five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals of the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 26, 2011 at the Amway Arena in Orlando, Florida.  NOTE TO USER: U
    J. Meric/Getty Images

    The Magic are home early watching the playoffs, but it isn't because of Dwight Howard

    Howard was an absolute man among boys against the Hawks in the first round, but unfortunately, his teammates weren't. In their Game 1 loss, Howard did all he could going for 46 points on 16-of-23 shooting and grabbing 19 rebounds.

    The Magic have a lot of questions next year as their reign near the top of the East may be coming to an end.

1. Chris Paul

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 26:  Chris Paul #3 of the New Orleans Hornets reacts late in the fourth quarter while taking on the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Five of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 26, 2011 at Staples Cente
    Harry How/Getty Images

    Nobody gave the Hornets a chance in the first round against the Lakers, but Chris Paul made sure his team had a chance.

    He set the tone in Game 1 in LA, when he went for 33 points, seven rebounds and 14 assists, as the Hornets shocked the Lakers. 

    The Hornets had a great year, but whether Paul will remain in New Orleans for the future now becomes the big question.

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