NBA.com/Celtics
By Darko Mihajlovski
Columnist

The second day of the 2012 NBA Playoffs is finished. Once again, there was a lot of  hype, excitement and drama in it with a historical comeback as well.

There were couple of surprises in the series with some players playing above the normal, having remarkable performances and helping their respective teams in their wins.

Which of them did the best? Without further ado, here are the top individual playoff games from day two of the post season.

Related: 2012 NBA Playoffs: Ranking The Best Individual Playoff Performances After Day One


10. Blake Griffin

NBA.com/Clippers
Blake Griffin, one of the NBA's most exciting players and best power forwards right now, made his debut in the post season against the Grizzlies.

He was extremely nervous and the inexperience clearly showed yesterday. Blake didn't look like himself at all, as he lacked the normal aggression in the course of the game, didn't have his normal production nor or his "normal" highlight plays from him.

Nonetheless, Griffin had a good game. He scored 17 points, grabbed seven boards, recorded three steals, shot 7-15 from the field and 3-4 from the line.

This should be a good lesson for Blake. He'll definitely need to increase his aggressiveness, intensity and give his best in the playoffs in order to win.


9. Michael Conley
NBA.com/Grizzlies
Unlike Blake Griffin, Mike Conley has already been in the post season before and has played quite good in there. He started this year's playoffs in the same way.

Although he has a tough match up to cover defensively and play against on offense in Chris Paul, it seemed to have no effect on him.

Mike scored 17 points, dished out eight assists, grabbed five boards, shot 5-8 from field, was perfect on all of his five attempts from deep and connected on two of his four free throws.

Quite impressive, isn't it? He was perhaps the biggest factor for Memphis' strong lead at the start, but even he couldn't do enough to stop the Clippers' comeback.


8. Kevin Garnett
NBA.com/Celtics
Among the bright spots of the Celtics in their defeat in Game One of the 2012 Playoffs against the Hawks, Kevin Garnett had an excellent game despite the loss

Although at the beginning he struggled at the beginning, KG produced above his already great production in recent time.

He scored 20 points, grabbed 12 boards, dished out three assists, had two steals, one block, shot 8-19 from the field and connected on all of his four attempts from the stripe.

With Rondo out against Atlanta in Game Two due to a suspension, he'll need to step up his game and take a bit more of the scoring load as well.


7. Rajon Rondo
NBA.com/Celtics
Rajon Rondo belongs in a group of players who always elevate themselves in the playoffs. He sure started in a strong way like many expected, even though his team lost the opener.

He was doing it all for his Celtics, as he seemed to be everywhere on the court. Rajon was scoring, setting up his team mates, getting steals, cleaning the glass and making several highlights as well.

Rondo had a great performance from an individual point and the stats prove that. He recorded 20 points, 11 assists, four rebounds, four steals and shot 10-18 from the field.

Unfortunately, he did one act late in the game which hurt his team's chances to win the game and possibly the series. That's bumping into a ref.  Although it looks like it wasn't an intentional one at least to me, it won't do any good considering his value to this Boston squad.


6. Kobe Bryant
NBA.com/Lakers
Who would have thought that after last year's bad season for Kobe Bryant, that he'd regain his status again as a top five player in the league? Only his biggest fans probably. He certainly played just as good in LA's win over Denver.

He didn't have a great start, but made up for it in the second half where he was the one that put the team on his back offensively and scored huge when needed most.  In fact, the majority of his points came late.

Kobe scored game high 31 points, grabbed five boards, dished our four assists, shot 11-24 from the field, missed his two threes and hit 9-11 from field.

Although he wasn't the best player on the Lakers in that night thanks to Andrew Bynum, he still managed to put a vintage Bryant like performance in the playoffs and show that he and his Lakers mean all business this year.


5. Josh Smith
NBA.com/Hawks
Despite not being selected to the All-Star Game, Josh Smith has taken a clear step forward and has played as an All-Star throughout the entire season. He was the biggest reason why Atlanta won the opening game of the playoffs against the Celtics.

The results of his hard work have payed off. He was all over the court, being consistently active and flying as a true hawk on the court on every possession. His presence was felt and made a great impact too.

Josh had a fantastic start of this year's post season. He scored 22 points, pulled down 18 boards, dished out four dimes, blocked a shot, had three turn overs and shot 8-20 from the field.

He made some crucial decisions late and hit important shots when needed most. He'll definitely be one guy Atlanta will rely on in this series.


4. Chris Paul
NBA.com/Clippers
It wasn't long ago when Kobe Bryant said that Chris Paul was among the top competitors in the league. Game One of the 2012 Playoffs proved that.

Despite playing on the road and being down in by 27 points at one point, he never gave up. Chris, like all of the other legendary point guards, was the vocal leader on the court for his team and had a nice performance as well.

Paul scored 14 points, dished out 11 assists, grabbed four boards, had a steal, shot 5-12 from field, missed his attempts from deep, hit 4-5 from the line with four turnovers.

Even though he didn't score as much, he drew a foul late in the game and made the two key free throws to lead his Clippers to a historical comeback. Although stat wise it isn't as impressive compared to the others, CP3's impact goes beyond statistics.




3. Tim Duncan
NBA.com/Spurs
Tim Duncan sure didn't look as "old", "washed up" and no longer "elite" as the media and fans rushed to make him look like. In fact, he proved them all wrong yesterday.

He sure made his presence known on the court yesterday. Timmy faked his defenders out of their shorts as usual, finished hard at the rim, cleared the glass, found his team mates and had an efficient day shooting the ball too.

The stats back that up. Tim scored 17 points, grabbed 12 boards, dished out five assists, shot 7-14 from the field and 3-5 from the line. He also played solid defense as well.

For the Spurs to beat the Utah Jazz and advance deep in the playoffs this season, Duncan will have to step up his game as usually. He's capable to do that for sure.


2. Andrew Bynum
NBA.com/Lakers
Andrew Bynum has been a big difference maker in positive sense of the word for the Lakers and his superb performance against the Nuggets proved it.

The young center was all over the court. Although offensively he didn't have his normal day, it was under the glass and especially in protecting the paint where he made the clear difference. Andrew's defensive presence was the biggest reason why his team won the game.

He's the first player on the Lakers roster to record a triple double after the legendary Magic who achieved it before 21 seasons. When you additionally the incredible impact, it's obvious that 'Drew had a truly amazing performance.


1. Tony Parker
NBA.com/Spurs
Tony Parker wouldn't have been a guy you would have put in your prediction for the top five point guards of this season, let alone among the leading MVP candidates as well. He certainly proved all of his doubters wrong.

There isn't any debate who's the Spurs top player now, not with the way Tony has been playing. Utah hadn't have an answer for his drives, shots and passing which was the reason why they lost.

Parker scored game high 28 points, dished out also game high eight assists, grabbed four boards, had a steal, shot 10-19 from the field and made eight of his ten attempts at the free throw line. Impressive, isn't it?

The veteran floor general who has so much playoff experience under his belt, will probably have a big series and will be asked to try to play as hard if San Antonio wants to advance deep in the post season.

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