The eight official day of the 2012 Playoffs is already behind us, in which there were four played games. Most of them went close, so there was excitement as usual.

The majority of the leaders in their respective match ups increased their leads. Not to be left out, there were some players who had excellent performances and helped their teams to get the win.

Who ranks on top? Without further ado, let's start.

10. Jordan Hill
I start the list with a big man who's proven to be valuable despite the minutes he gets. Jordan Hill has been the biggest X-factor so far for his Lakers. He was crucial in his team's win on the road against Denver.

Jordan's energy, hustle, activity on the glass and on both sides in the paint turned out to be vital. He changed the game in positive sense of the word and the statistics can back that up.

Hill scored 12 points, grabbed 11 rebounds (including seven offensive of them), had a steal, shot 4-9 from the field, 4-6 at the stripe with three turnovers in 23 minutes of action.

That's excellent production from him. Here's even a better stat. He's ranked sixth in rebounding so far and all the other players before him get starter minutes.

With him performing well, it will provide to give the Lakers the needed boost of the bench.

9. Kobe Bryant
Los Angeles Lakers' guard Kobe Bryant continued his great play, as he led his team one step closer to going in the second round after their win over the Nuggets on the road.

He displayed his skill set quite nicely, as he seemed to be everywhere. He ended up with most points again, distributed the rock well, was solid on the glass and made the right decisions.

Kobe scored 22 points, pulled down eight boards, dished out six assists, recorded a steal, committed five turnovers, shot 10-25 from the field, 2-7 from deep and 0-1 from the stripe in 39 minutes.

With the series shifting home, where Bryant has been red hot, the Lakers are most likely to beat the Nuggets and advance in the second round.

8. Carlos Boozer
Carlos Boozer hadn't have a great series versus the eight seeded Philadelphia, up until the last game. Even though he was playing his best game of the series, it wasn't enough as the Bulls couldn't get the needed win.

Carlos responded well this time in the post, as his high arc shots were falling and ended up as their leading scorer. He was excellent on the glass and included his team mates well. The stats prove his nice game.

Boozer poured in 24 points, pulled down 11 rebounds, dished out four assists, had two steals, shot 11-24 from the field, 1-1 from the free throw line in 41 minutes of action.

While he's been playing below the expectations now with Rose out, it's never been a better time for him to step up.

7. Spencer Hawes
After his excellent performance in the previous game, Philadelphia's center Spencer Hawes continued in the same way, as he led his team to yet another win thanks to his strong play.

With him being inserted in the starting line up, he's given nothing but huge production so far. He's the biggest reason why the Sixers were successful in their home arena and are close to an upset.

Statistics show his terrific performance. He scored 22 points, grabbed eight boards, had an assist, rejected three shots, shot 9-11 from the field, 1-2 from deep and 3-4 from the stripe in 36 minutes.

Hawes has turned out to be the key factor for this turn around. He and his Philadelphia are now one win away closer to going in the second round.

6. Dwyane Wade
Heat's guard Dwyane Wade has had an excellent playoff series against the New York Knicks. After being the main reason why his team won in Game Two, he's now the reason why the Heat couldn't sweep the hometown team.

Dwyane didn't connect on a pretty decent look late in the game with his team being down by two. However, he had an overall excellent performance which is backed up by the stats.

Wade poured in 22 points, dished out six assists, grabbed three boards, recorded four steals, blocked three shots, shot 9-18 from the field, 0-3 from deep and 4-11 at the stripe.

He was all over the court, as he was a presence on both sides of the court. With this missed shot, he'll have a chip on his shoulder for which he'll definitely play hard in the next game in his arena.

5. Amar'e Stoudemire
One of the biggest stories of the 2012 playoffs, Amar'e Stoudemire returned to play for his Knicks, despite the injured hand and helped them to get the win with which they avoided a sweep.

Amar'e seemed calm yet aggressive enough. He gave the Heat issues in the paint on offense, made his shots and was excellent on the glass.

This was his best game of the series. Stoudemire scored 20 points, pulled down 10 boards, had an assist, shot 8-13 from the field, 4-7 from the stripe and four turnovers in 34 minutes of action.

His return was a nice boost for New York, who needed a motive to win which they did.

4. Paul Pierce
Veteran small forward, Paul Pierce has established himself as a strong performer in the post season. He's continued in the same way, as he came up big for his Celtics yet again.

He was doubtful before the start of Game Five of the playoffs due to him injuring his knee.

Nonetheless, this didn't stop Paul. He fought through it and seemed to be anything but slowed as he produced nicely.

Pierce scored 24 points, grabbed four boards, blocked two shots, shot 10-13 from the field, 4-6 from the arc, 0-1 from the free throw line, committed two turnovers in 17 minutes of action.

This game is still a proof that he's still elite player. With his knee getting healthier, he and his Celtics are ready to take down the Hawks in the next game.

3. LeBron James
Picking it up where he left, one of the league's leading candidates for the MVP honor, LeBron James played quite well yet again versus the Knicks. However, he and his team failed to sweep them in a close one.

He didn't have a great night shooting the basket, but he found ways to end up a bunch of points, besides his usual strong all-around performance as always.

LeBron scored 27 points, grabbed four boards, dished out four assists, had a steal, shot 9-21 from the field, 2-5 from deep and 7-8 from the stripe with five turnovers in 41 minutes.

Statistically speaking, his game was really nice. He made several clutch plays late and was a red hot late in the fourth. Unfortunately, coach Spoelstra went to Wade, who failed to hit the shot on a decent look.

Now, they'll have to make up for this game and close their opponents in the next one which will be played in Miami.

2. Rajon Rondo
Rajon Rondo picked up where he left in Game Four of the 2012 playoffs against the Hawks, as he followed it up with yet another excellent performance.

Rajon was very aggressive early on, controlled the flow of the game brilliantly, found his shooting touch and distributed the rock amazingly as always.

He scored 20 points, dished out 16 assists, pulled down three boards, recorded three steals, 8-11 from the field, 2-3 from deep and 2-5 from the line in 35 minutes with a turnover.

Rondo's excellent game pushed his team over Atlanta. When he's finding the bottom of the net with his shot besides the other things, it makes him unstoppable at times. This game was a case in point.

He'll have to keep it up as his Boston are close to advance in the second round.

1. Carmelo Anthony
The New York Knicks had a streak of 13 consecutive playoff loses. However, they finally stopped that with them defeating the visiting Miami Heat. Who was the biggest reason for that? It's the man in the picture.

Carmelo Anthony is never afraid to play his hardest when the pressure is high and this game is case in point, as he torched the Heat offensively and also had a great all-around performance in the process.

Carmelo poured in 41 points, grabbed six boards, recorded four assists, recorded a steal, lost the ball once, shot 15-29 from the field, 1-4 from deep and 10-14 from the stripe.

Anthony's 41 points are so far the highest points scored in this year's post season. He and his Knicks managed to stay in the series and they definitely showed pride.

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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