They don't grab scoring titles or All-Star MVPs or even front page headlines. They are the NBA's role players, members of the supporting cast that keep the score close so that those who are often spectacular can finish things off when the series is on the line.
Once in a while, however, these players carry their teams. And in those moments, they become something more than role players -- they become superstars. Throughout the 2005 NBA Playoffs trek to the The Finals, NBA.com takes a look at those players and their one glorious moment in the postseason:
Sleepy's 29 points in the fourth and 39 for the half showed he was wide awake against the Lakers.
Otto Greule/Getty Images/NBAE
When one looks at greatest playoff performances, you may be asleep when it comes to one of the best in NBA history.
On May 10, Golden State Warriors guard Eric "Sleepy" Floyd set two NBA Playoffs records against a Los Angeles Lakers team with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson and James Worthy, three future Hall of Famers, and would go onto win the NBA title a mere 34 days later. Floyd's record-setting performance would help the Warriors win their only game in a 4-1 Western Conference Semifinals loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.
But it was Floyd who made history as he took center stage in a Game 4 of the 1987 Western Conference Semifinals. Setting NBA playoff records for points (29) and field goals (12) in a quarter and points (39) in a half, Sleepy led the underdog Warriors to a 129-121 victory over the eventual NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers.
"The most incredible feeling I've ever had at a sporting event," wrote a San Francisco Chronicle columnist July 2003, "was watching Eric 'Sleepy' Floyd score 29 points in a quarter against the Lakers in the NBA Playoffs in the late '80s. I was a member of the media, trying to stay cool at the press table.
"But the hair on my neck was standing. I was holding my head in disbelief. Incredible. Electric."
The disbelief was not only because of the performance, but the man who was doing it. From such NBA legends as Magic, Michael Jordan, Isiah Thomas and Larry Bird you would expect such incredible last quarter heroics. But you wouldn't expect such an explosion from a 6-3 guard who averaged just 12.8 points per game for his career. Yet 18 years later, despite the additions of such clutch playoff performers as Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and Reggie Miller to the league, Floyd's records still stand.
That's not to say nobody ever came close to breaking them.
Charles Barkley finished one-point shy of matching the mark for points in a half by tallying 38 as Phoenix defeated Golden State 140-133 in Game 3 of the 1994 Western Conference First Round. Sir Charles also scored 27 points in the first quarter on 11-of-11 shooting – leaving him one bucket behind Floyd's records for points and field goals in a quarter.
Because of that fall short, even today, Sleepy Floyd remains the answer to a trivia question. But to those who watched his performance, the experience was anything but trivial.