The NBA couldn't have asked for much more on-court excitement during the first round of the playoffs.
Six of the eight series will go six or more games, with each providing compelling theater. One No. 8 seed is on the verge of advancing and the other is threatening to do so. Road teams are enjoying unprecedented success. The Rockets and Trail Blazers have played three overtime games ... and rank second in that category, because the Thunder and Grizzlies have played a record-tying four. And on and on.
Oh, and the individual performances and shot making -- from All-Stars to veteran grinders to former D-Leaguers -- have been spectacular. Here's just a sampling of the finest moments from the first round so far:
The Mavs' 37-year-old swingman stunned the Spurs with a buzzer-beating three-pointer in Game 3:
The Thunder have been four-point-play-happy in the first round, including one from Russell Westbrook that knotted Game 3 in the closing seconds. The most outrageous, though, came from Durant. The scoring champion's fading three and free throw helped the Thunder force -- what else? -- overtime in Game 2 against Memphis (which held off Oklahoma City 111-105).
The recent D-Leaguer hit a tiebreaking three-pointer with 11 seconds left in -- what else? -- overtime to send Houston past Portland in Game 3:
As if the Pacers didn't get their fill of Teague with his devastating crossover, the Hawks' point guard hit an improbable three-pointer -- complete with an MJ-like incredulous reaction -- to seal Atlanta's Game 3 victory:
The All-Star power forward's franchise-record 46-point effort in Portland's Game 1 victory included an OT-forcing tip-in with 2.9 seconds left:
His strip-and-dunk sequence set up the fourth consecutive OT game in the series, but the Grizzlies prevailed in Game 5:
This buzzer-beating three-pointer at the end of the half highlighted the breakout star's 36-point performance in Toronto's Game 5 victory over Brooklyn:
Pierce narrates his own dramatics in the Nets' Game 1 victory:
The second-year point guard's circus scoop shot over Dwight Howard helped fuel the Blazers' fourth-quarter comeback in Game 3, but the Rockets survived in -- one more time -- OT: