The 2012 playoffs rolls on, as day twenty two is already behind us. There were as usual two games played in which the Thunder eliminated the Lakers and the Celtics increased their series lead in the match up with the young 76ers.
There were some players who played above the expected and earned big credit for that. Who ranks on the top? Without any further ado, let's start.

5. James Harden
The Oklahoma Thunder City eliminated the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Five in the second round of the 2012 postseason. One of the biggest contributors for the hometown's team huge win was the league's latest winner of the Six Award Of The Year. His name? James Harden.
The Beard came off the bench to give his Thunder a nice spark once again. He had a really fine all-around performance, as he did a little bit of everything for his team. He gave the usual scoring punch, was excellent on the glass, found the bottom of the net with his shot and included the open man too.

Harden recorded 18 points, grabbed eight boards, dished out four dimes, recorded a steal, shot 6-10 from the field, 1-2 from three point land, 4-4 from the free throw line and committed only one turnover in 31 minutes. That's a nice performance from a statistical point of view.

4. Brandon Bass
The only player here who's making his first appearance on the list thanks to his break through performance of the 2012 postseason for him so far, Brandon Bass was the biggest reason why the veteran Boston Celtics managed to win game five of the series against the 76ers.
Brandon was the one who inspired his team to the win after being down by more than 10 points in the third quarter. He got many easy scoring chances on which he connected and was excellent in nearly all the other areas. This has easily been his best performance of the playoffs so far.

Bass scored 26 points, grabbed six boards, dished out an assist, recorded two steals, blocked two shots, shot 9-13 from the field, 9-10 from the stripe and committed two turnovers in 37 minutes of action. He truly deserved the standing ovation that the Celtics fans gave him after the team got the win, in which Brandon was the key.

3. Kevin Durant
Thunders' sweet shooting forward Kevin Durant continued with his excellent play, as he was one of the main contributors to his team's win with which they eliminated the Lakers in game six of the 2012 playoffs. He once shone bright.
Kevin had an outstanding all-around performance. He was active on both sides of the court, scored a bunch of points despite not having an efficient day from the field, was terrific on the glass, involved the open man and was solid defensively.

Durant poured in 25 points, pulled down 10 boards, dished out four assists, recorded two steals, committed two turnovers, shot 9-21 from the field, 2-6 from deep and 5-6 from the stripe in 43 minutes out there. Stat wise, it's another good game for him.

2. Russell Westbrook
Much like his teammate Durant, Thunders' All-Star guard Russell Westbrook continued in similar fashion as he had yet another brilliant performance. He was definitely on his game and perhaps the biggest reason why his team finished off the visiting Lakers in that deciding fifth game.
Russell was aggressive throughout the entire game and active on both sides of the court. He was making the right call, regardless of was it to score, pass, playing the lanes etc. He had a fine game, and the stats can back that up.

Westbrook scored 28 points, dished out four assists, grabbed three boards, recorded two steals, had only one turnover, shot 12-25 from the field, 0-1 from three point land, 4-6 from the stripe in just under 40 minutes of action.

1. Kobe Bryant
With the loss in Game Five of the 2012 Western Conference Semifinals against the Thunder, he and his LA are out of the postseason. Nonetheless, he played in a way like he hadn't before. The No.1 spot on this list goes to non other than Kobe Bryant.
Lakers' superstar went all out against the hometown Thunder. He was aggressive, got in his flow early on, was solid on defense and on the glass. He tried to will his teammates to a win with his excellence on offense but unfortunately for him, they didn't follow. Regardless of it, he has to be applauded for the effort.

Bryant poured in 42 points, grabbed five boards, recorded two steals, committed two turnovers, shot 18-33 from the field, 1-6 from distance and 5-7 from the free throw line in 41 minutes of action. Stat wise, this is a brilliant performance which in the end wasn't enough.

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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