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NBA 73 43 Five breakout stars of the 2013 NBA playoffs 31738678 Busting out Busting+out NBA

You remember Stephen Curry, right? Five years ago, he was leading little Davidson College on a Cinderella run to the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament. Now, in his first appearance in the NBA playoffs, he's trying to do something similar with the Golden State Warriors.


Curry has been a sensation in these playoffs so far, but he's not the only breakout star. Here are five guys who casual NBA fans may not have known much about before, but they're sure earning some respect now.

Garrett W. Ellwood - Getty Images
NBA 73 43 Five breakout stars of the 2013 NBA playoffs 31738680 Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors Stephen+Curry%2C+Golden+State+Warriors NBA

We already knew he loved the spotlight when he became a March Madness legend in 2008 and when he dropped 55 points on the Knicks in Madison Square Garden earlier this season. But it's now clear that Curry is the kind of star who shines brightest when the stakes are highest. He's averaging 27.1 points and 9.6 assists in his first crack at the NBA playoffs and seems to be loving every moment of it.

Kyle Terada - USA TODAY Sports
NBA 73 43 Five breakout stars of the 2013 NBA playoffs 31738681 Nate Robinson, Chicago Bulls Nate+Robinson%2C+Chicago+Bulls+ NBA

With Derrick Rose still unwilling to test out his surgically-repaired knee and Kirk Hinrich sidelined by a strained calf, the 5-foot-8 Robinson is only playing heavy minutes for Chicago by default. But he's making the most of them. Nate the Great has already turned in two of the playoffs' best performances: 34 points in a triple-overtime Game 4 win over the Nets, and 27 points in a Game 1 upset of the Heat. He sparked comebacks in each game and his cocky attitude has set the tone for the banged-up but fearless Bulls.

Chris Trotman - Getty Images
NBA 73 43 Five breakout stars of the 2013 NBA playoffs 31738679 Paul George, Indiana Pacers Paul+George%2C+Indiana+Pacers NBA

George became an All-Star this year in his third NBA season, but he's still far from a household name. That could change if he helps the Pacers knock off the Knicks and then -- hey, it's possible! -- the Heat in the East playoffs. The 23-year-old swingman was already too much for the Hawks to handle in the first round. George opened the postseason with a triple-double (23 points, 11 rebounds, 12 assists) and is averaging 18.9 points and 8.3 rebounds so far in the playoffs.

Scott Cunningham - Getty Images
NBA 73 43 Five breakout stars of the 2013 NBA playoffs 31741452 Chris Andersen, Miami Heat Chris+Andersen%2C+Miami+Heat NBA

OK, you probably already know the "Birdman" for his tattoos and mohawk. And it's a stretch to say he's been a star for a Heat team loaded with actual stars. But there's no denying the impact he had on Miami's first-round sweep of the Bucks. As Chris Bosh's backup at center, he averaged 10.3 points and 6.3 rebounds in just 14 minutes per game in Games 1-3 of the series, while going 13 of 15 from the field. His energy and defense have sparked the Heat since he joined the team around midseason. Miami is 42-4 since he entered the playing rotation.

Benny Sieu - USA TODAY Sports
NBA 73 43 Five breakout stars of the 2013 NBA playoffs 31741451 Chandler Parsons, Houston Rockets Chandler+Parsons%2C+Houston+Rockets NBA

The Rockets weren't supposed to have a chance against the mighty Thunder unless All-Star guard James Harden played out of his mind. As it turns out, Harden shot under 40 percent in the series, yet Houston pushed Oklahoma City to six games in large part because of the unheralded Parsons, who had 27 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists in Game 4. A second-round pick in 2011, Parsons had a strong second season in Houston but picked up his game even more in the playoffs, averaging 18.2 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.7 assists.

Layne Murdoch Jr - Getty Images
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