The 2012 NBA Playoffs continue as the sixth official day is finished. Once again, it brought excitement, hype and a bit of surprise in several of the match ups that are behind us.

Both Philadelphia and Boston, after being down at the start, made a turnaround. They're now ahead of their respective opponents. On the other hand, Denver finally stopped the losing streak and won.

There were some players whose great performances were key factors in their team's victories. Who ranks on the top? Without any further ado, let's start.

10. Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant, one of the game's top players right now, has had a red hot series so far. However, that wasn't the case yesterday, as he had his least impressive performance.

The defense was as usual all over him, but he couldn't connect on his shots. He involved his team mates well and overall had a solid all-around performance in the game.

Kobe scored 22 points, grabbed six boards, dished out six assists, shot 7-23 from the field, 3-10 from the arc, 5-6 from the line while committing six turnovers in 41 minutes of action.

Bryant's bad game had a negative influence on his team. Besides not finding the bottom of the net, his care of the ball wasn't good at all.

However, this shouldn't worry Lakers or neither the Black Mamba's fans at all. Kobe's a guy who founds his motivation easily and comes back with a strong performance the next time. 

9. Andrew Bynum
Andrew Bynum has had an outstanding series against the Nuggets so far, with even a triple double. Although he played overall nicely, it wasn't enough to avoid their first loss of the post season.

Andrew started quite bad in the beginning. He was shooting 0-3 in the first half and didn't impact in the same way like in the other games. 

Nonetheless, he poured in 18 points, grabbed 12 rebounds, blocked two shots, dished out two assists, shot 5-11 from the field, 8-8 from the charity while committing two turnovers in 41 minutes of action.

He scored 12 points in the third period, and added several of them in the fourth. Bynum controlled the glass well and was a presence defensively in the paint as well.

He'll need to pick it up and make a big impact in the series in order to close out Denver. 

8. Evan Turner
Evan Turner seems most likely as one of the brightest spots in Philadelphia's future. Once he got the minutes that he deserved, he started producing quite big for his team and continued in such fashion in this game too.

He made big plays throughout the entire match, got to the rim, had an excellent all-around performance and led his team to a lead after being down at the start.

Evan scored 16 points, pulled down nine boards, dished out an assist, shot 5-12 from the field, 0-2 from the arc, 6-8 from the charity while committing a turnover.

He closed out the Bulls with his buckets late. Turner's heroics added to his already growing confidence and were among the key reasons why Philadelphia made a huge turnaround in the series.

He'll be expected to come out strong for his team in order to increase their lead and possibly upset Chicago.

7. Kevin Garnett
Besides making a terrific impact, Kevin Garnett has been known for doing a little bit of everything and setting the tone with his strong play. Game Three of the playoffs against the Hawks is a case in point.

His team was trailing 19-15 in the first quarter of the match up, when he blocked a shot. With that amazing play, his defensive intensity was crucial in his team's win and the Big Ticket had a strong double as well.

Kevin poured in 20 points, grabbed 12 rebounds, blocked four shots, dished out an assist, recorded a steal, shot 9-18 from the field, 2-2 from the charity in 41 minutes of action.

The Big Ticket delivered throughout the game with his versatility, activity on both sides of the court and him controlling the glass. 

He's been a strong presence for his Celtics throughout the entire series. With Smith being out, he'll need to continue in similar mood in order for his team to win.

6. Jeff Teague
Among the most improved players in the NBA as of now, Jeff Teague has played strongly through the series so far. He certainly continued in the same way in Game Three of the playoffs against the Celtics.

Jeff's aggressiveness, hard play and great effort all have gave him nothing but excellent results so far. He was once again all over the court as he played brilliantly on both sides.

Teague scored 23 points, dished out six assists, grabbed four boards, had a steal, rejected two shots, shot 9-16 from the field, 0-2 from deep and 5-6 from the line with two turnovers in 47 minutes of action.

He surely made his presence to be felt out there with his outstanding play and energy. Earlier in the season, KG called him "nobody".

Jeff has answered to that with him stepping up his play. The Hawks will need more than just him performing well to beat the Celtics.

5. Joe Johnson
After being criticized for not stepping up at the start of the playoffs and not showing leadership, Joe Johnson certainly made adjustments in the third game.

Joe put the team on his back, carried the load offensively, was an impressive from an all-around point of the view and was active on both sides of the court. The stats show that.

He scored 29 points, grabbed eight boards, dished out two assists, had two steals, blocked a shot, shot 11-28 from the field, 3-7 from distance and 4-5 from the free throw line in 46 minutes of action with two turnovers as well.

He wasn't shooting the ball efficiently overall, but he connected on the ones he took them late. On the final possession of the game, he was double teamed and he passed the ball to Willie Green who missed the last jumper.

Although he lost, Johnson certainly had his most impressive game of the series and showed up the leadership which he failed to do earlier on.

4. Spencer Hawes
If Evan Turner was the one who closed the Bulls, Spencer Hawes was the one who kept Philadelphia all the time in the game and forcing it to be close.

He wasn't a factor in the series against Chicago, until Game Three of the playoffs. Spencer found his stroke, came up big in the fourth quarter and he made his presence to be felt.

Hawes scored 21 points, grabbed nine boards, dished out two assists, shot 7-15 from the field, 1-1 beyond the arc, 6-6 from the line with one turnover.

His strong play was among the biggest reason why Philadelphia beat their opponents and took t

3. Javale McGee
Javale McGee isn't the only player in this list who hasn't been a factor in the series so far but is rightfully is on the list thanks to his excellent performance during Game Three of the playoffs against the Lakers.

Although he came off the bench, he was definitely one of the main reasons his Denver won their first game of the series. He was definitely the difference maker for his team.

Javale scored 16 points, pulled down 15 boards, dished out two assists, recorded two steals, blocked three shots, lost a ball, shot 8-12 from the field and 0-2 from the free throw line in 28 minutes.

He didn't play much, nonetheless he established himself as a presence in the paint defensively, was dominant on the glass and finished easily inside.

McGee's breakout performance in this series is something the Nuggets will need from him to do in order to try to upset the Lakers.

2. Ty Lawson
Ty Lawson didn't have a brilliant start of the playoffs. However, the speedy point guard has been productive and excellent ever since than. 

Ty led his Nuggets to their first win of the series, as the series shifted in Denver. He broke Lakers' defense in so many ways, created easy scoring chances for his team mates and was terrific on both sides of the court.

Lawson poured in 25 points, dished out seven assists, grabbed four boards, recorded two steals, shot 9-19 from the field, 1-3 from distance and 6-7 from the free throw line without a turnover.

This was his best game of the series. He made a huge impact, displayed his skill set and controlled the pace really nicely. Besides his strong display of his offensive abilities, him not committing a turnover had just as impact as his scoring.

He'll need to continue in the same way if the Nuggets want to possibly upset the Lakers.

1. Rajon Rondo
Rajon Rondo apologized to the Boston Celtics in the best way after not playing in Game Two because of his suspension. He recorded a triple double and led them to a 90-84 win over the Hawks.

His aggressiveness gave him positive results. Rajon, although he didn't shot the ball efficiently, seemed to be everywhere else, as he involved his team mates, grabbed the boards, scored etc.

Rondo scored 17 points, dished out 12 assists, grabbed 14 boards, recorded four steals, shot 7-22 from the field, 0-1 from deep and 3-4 from the charity while committing six turnovers.

He didn't protect the ball as well as he does, took more shots than the usual, didn't shot efficiently yet he was   the story of the day.

He recorded his seventh post season triple double. He made all the other plays and found numerous ways of impacting the game positively. When all is taken in consideration, he deserves to be ranked at No. 1.

Darko Mihajlovski is a columnist at FootBasket. He also contributes to Hoops-Nation. You can read more about him at our Staff page


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