With the first round of the playoffs wrapped up, here's a look of some of the series' top performances: In Game 2 against Chicago, LeBron James responded to some choice comments from Bulls center Joakim Noah about the city of Cleveland with a masterpiece performance that ended with an exclamation point of a fourth quarter. James led the Cavs in points (40), rebounds (8), assists (8), steals (1) and blocks (2). He scored 11 straight points over a three-minute stretch in the fourth quarter, propelling Cleveland to a double-digit win and a 2-0 series lead. James and his Cavs now have a date with the Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
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With Game 3 knotted at 98-98, Dwyane Wade bricked a three-pointer with 14 seconds left and limped to the bench. From there, he watched as Boston's Paul Pierce pulled up for the potential game-winning jumper over Dorrell Wright. The result: cash. The Celtics took a 3-0 series lead thanks to Pierce's buzzer-beater, which capped a 32-point night.
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All the talk surrounding Game 4 of the Heat's first-round matchup with the Celtics was focused on Dwyane Wade's future in free agency. But Miami's main man wasn't ready to hand Boston a sweep. If it was indeed his farewell game in South Florida, Wade did not disappoint, scoring 46 points, including 30 in the second half, en route to a 101-92 win.
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For those who called the Thunder's Game 3 win a fluke, Game 4 was OKC's rebuttal. Paced by Kevin Durant's 22 points, the Thunder jumped out to an early lead and never looked back, cruising to a 21-point win over the defending champion Lakers. The margin of victory was the highest by a No. 8 seed over a No. 1 seed since 2004.
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With the Mavericks facing elimination in Game 5 after three straight losses to the Spurs, it was Caron Butler, not superstar Dirk Nowitzki, who willed Dallas to a victory. Butler posted 35 points, 11 rebounds and 3 steals in a 103-81 win. More important, he energized the Mavs on a night when Dirk shot just one free throw.
6 of 13John W. McDonough/SI
Carmelo Anthony was a one-man show for the Nuggets for much of their first-round series against Utah. In Game 1, 'Melo tied a franchise postseason record with 42 points in Denver's victory. In Game 4, he dropped 39, to go along with 11 boards and 4 steals in a losing effort.
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After getting throttled by the Thunder in Game 4, the Lakers returned the favor in Game 5 thanks to an inspired effort from Pau Gasol. The 7-footer finally realized that Oklahoma City had no one capable of guarding him, and went off for 25 points and 11 rebounds, helping the Lakers to a 21-point lead by halftime and a 111-87 win to take a 3-2 series lead.
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Eight days after knee surgery, Blazers star Brandon Roy surprisingly returned for Game 4 vs. the Suns. His presence (along with 10 points off the bench) gave the Blazers a lift en route to a 96-87 win, tying the series at two games apiece.
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Jason Richardson scored a career-high 42 points, including eight three-pointers, in Phoenix's Game 3 win over Portland. That was just part of a fine series for Richardson, who shot 52.7 percent (49-of-93) from the field and 51.2 percent (22-of-43) from beyond the arc. Richardson and the Suns take on the Spurs in Round 2.
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Utah won Game 2 in Denver thanks to the show put on by Deron Williams. The All-Star point guard scored 33 points and handed out 14 assists in a 114-111 victory. The last Utah player to have a 30-10 playoff performance? John Stockton, more than 20 years ago.
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The Bulls were in desperate need of a victory after falling in a 0-2 hole to LeBron and the Cavs. Rose provided the lift in the third game, pouring in 31 points and dishing out seven assists as the Bulls held off a late surge from Cleveland for a 108-106 win. Chicago fans chanted "MVP! MVP!" as the second-year standout led the Bulls to victory.
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The man they call Mighty Mouse missed most of the playoffs last season, and barely made an impact in the Finals against the Lakers. Nelson was ready for Round 1 in 2010, blitzing the Bobcats for 32 points in Games 1 and 3 of Orlando's sweep. He finished the series with 18 assists and only five turnovers.
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For most players, a 25-point, 15-rebound playoff performance is a career highlight. When Tim Duncan put up 25 and 17 on the Mavericks in Game 2 to help the Spurs even the series, it was the 29th time the Big Fundamental had done so (only Shaq has more 25/15 postseason games).
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