It takes a team effort to advance in the NBA playoffs -- just ask Chris Paul and the Clippers about that. But there's no denying that teams need some incredible individual performances if they want to get as close to title contention as possible.
With the first round of the NBA playoffs in the books, here are the 10 best players from that round, ranked from merely great to simply unstoppable.
Isaiah Thomas, PG, Boston Celtics
Forget that the Celtics came back from a 2-0 series deficit to win four straight against the Bulls.
Thomas has proven to be one of the game's most mentally tough competitors, after losing his 22-year-old sister in a car accident just before the postseason began. He's Boston's leading scorer in these playoffs, averaging 23 points in 34.8 minutes per game in the Celtics' first-round series.
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Joe Johnson, SF, Utah Jazz
The Jazz used an all-around team effort to advance past the Clippers in the first round of the playoffs, but without some steady scoring from the veteran Johnson, the team wouldn't be preparing to face the Warriors in the second round.
The 35-year-old, in his 16th NBA season, was huge for the Jazz when they needed him the most. When food poisoning forced Gordon Hayward to bow out of Game 4 after only nine minutes of action, Johnson stepped up to score 28 points on 12-of-17 shooting in 35 minutes off the bench to even the series at two games apiece.
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Chris Paul, PG, L.A. Clippers
The Clippers were in a tough spot agains Utah once Blake Griffin was lost for the playoffs with a toe injury, but Paul's heroics helped push L.A. as far as possible.
George did everything he could to help the Pacers battle the Cavaliers, but in the end, he simply didn't have very much help. George averaged 28.0 points, 8.8 rebounds and 7.3 assists in 43.0 minutes per game during Indiana's first-round playoff series.
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John Wall, PG, Washington Wizards
Wall has been magnificent for the Wizards in the postseason, showing an all-time high level of confidence while willing his team to win. He averaged 29.5 points and 10.3 assists in Washington's first-round win over the Hawks. Two years ago, he averaged only 17.4 points in Washington's last trip to the playoffs.
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Russell Westbrook, PG, Oklahoma City Thunder
Westbrook's playoff performance was as fast and furious as the one he put together during the regular season. Unfortunately, that came with it much of the same team results.
Insane individual numbers rarely translate into team success, and Westbrook learned that the hard way when he averaged 37.4 points, 11.6 rebounds and 10.8 assists while losing four out of five before being eliminated by the Rockets.
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Stephen Curry, PG, Golden State Warriors
Kevin Durant was in and out of the lineup in the first round of the playoffs, which meant that the reigning unanimous MVP could safely return to his previous, dominating ways. Curry averaged 29.8 points to go along with 5.3 rebounds and 6.5 assists in Golden State's sweep of the Blazers.
James Harden, PG, Houston Rockets
The MVP votes had been cast before the Rockets eliminated the Thunder from the playoffs in an easy five games, but Harden showed what the award should be about by leading his team to the series win. He averaged a ridiculous 33.2 points and seven assists, as Houston elimated fellow MVP candidate Russell Westbrook and his Thunder.
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Kawhi Leonard, SF, San Antonio Spurs
How good is Leonard? Gregg Popovich has willfully gone away from his equal-opportunity offense to feature Leonard in isolation sets with playoff games on the line. That's an unprecedented amount of trust, and Leonard rewarded his coach in a six-game elimination of the Grizzlies. He averaged 31.2 points and 6.0 rebounds against Memphis.
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LeBron James, SF, Cleveland Cavaliers
If the Cavaliers are going to repeat as champions, it'll be because James is still performing like the world's best player. He did exactly that in Cleveland's first-round sweep of the Pacers, averaging 32.8 points, 9.8 rebounds and 9.0 assists in 43.8 minutes per game. When he's putting up numbers like that, there isn't a team in the league that can stop him.