Ah, give me the NBA Playoffs.  You can keep the regular season, thank you.

It’s funny, isn’t it?  In the NBA, the league’s best players seemingly always show up in the postseason.  Of course, since more than half of the 30 teams do qualify, it’s a good chance the best will show up.

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There are a few exceptions.  Take this season for example.  There will be no Anthony Davis or Demarcus Cousins in the playoffs, but all the others will be.

So, this is a “star-studded” Top 5.  After all, that’s what the NBA is all about, right?

5.) Charles Barkley’s Triple-Double:  1993 Western Conference Finals, Game 5

Barkley had some tremendous games in his stellar NBA career, but none bigger or more memorable than in Game 5 of the 1993 Western Conference finals against the Seattle SuperSonics.  Barkley led the Suns to a 120-114 victory by pouring in 43 points, pulling 15 rebounds and handing out 10 assists.  Also, he was perfect from the line that night, going 11-of-11 and hitting 16 of his 22 shots from the field.

4.)  Bill Russell’s 30 points and 40 rebounds:  1962 NBA Finals, Game 7

There are many who consider Bill Russell the greatest NBA player of all time.  It’s hard to argue with his success.  As player, and then player coach, of the Boston Celtics, he led the franchise to 11 NBA titles from 1956 to 1969.  However, his greatest playoff moment came in Game 7 of the NBA Finals when he scored 30 points and added 40 rebounds.  40 rebounds!  Let that sink in for a moment.  If that is not worthy of a Top 5, then nothing is.  The Celtics won Game 7 in overtime, 110-107 over the Lakers then won the World Title.

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3.)  Lebron James’ 25 consecutive points:  2007 Eastern Conference Semifinals, Game 5

Say what you will about Lebron James, but there is no denying his talent, and the fact that when he turns it on, there is no one in the NBA like him. ***In game five of the 2007 Eastern Conference semifinals at the Palace of Auburn Hill, James put the Cleveland Cavaliers on his back.  He scored  25 straight points for his team and 29 of the Cavaliers’ final 30 points.  The game went to double-overtime with Cleveland prevailing 109-107.   James racked up 48 points with nine rebounds, seven assists and two steals.  He also fittingly scored the game winner: a lay-up with :02 to go.

2.)  Michael Jordan’s 63 points:  1986 Eastern Conference first round, Game 2

Michael Jordan had missed most of the season with a broken foot, but came back in the playoffs and was, well, Michael Jordan.  He had scored 49 points in game one of the first round series against the Boston Celtics, but in game two, he was even better.  He was 22 of 41 from the field and 19-of-21 from the free throw line as the Bulls lost at the Boston Garden 135-131 in double overtime.  The Celtics went on to sweep the Bulls in the first round and win the NBA Championship that season.  Jordan’s 63 points are the most points ever scored in a post season game.  After the game, Larry Bird of the Celtics said:  “I didn’t think anyone was capable of doing what Michael has done to us. He is the most exciting, awesome player in the game today. I think it’s just God disguised as Michael Jordan.”

1.)  Magic Johnson’s 42 points, 15 rebounds:  1980 NBA Finals, Game 6

An ankle injury kept Los Angeles Lakers center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar out of the lineup of Game 6 of the 1980 NBA Finals at Philadelphia.  So, who did the Lakers turn to play center?  Their 20 year-old point guard, Magic Johnson.  He responded with the single greatest performance ever in the playoffs.  He pumped in 42 points with 15 rebounds and seven assists.  The Lakers won the game 123-107, clinched the title and Magic was named Finals MVP.

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