Playoff Time: 7 Players To Watch In Semifinals

New heights are reached and new records set in the postseason. Each game is a new chapter in the quest for playoff glory. Once the bright lights of the postseason flip on, stars are born.

This postseason has been no exception. Each of the four teams to advance past the first round had players step up and deliver in crunch time. VTB-League.com singles out seven players that have taken their game to a new level during the 2016 postseason.

Janis Timma, Zenit forward

Change in efficiency rating: +14.4
Regular season stats: 26.5 minutes, 13.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.3 assists and a 15.6 efficiency rating
Playoff stats: 31.1 minutes, 23.7 points, 9.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists and a 30.0 efficiency rating

Many expected the quarterfinal series between Zenit and Avtodor to go the distance. Each game proved competitive, but in the end, St. Petersburg would not be denied, advancing in three. One of the biggest reasons for Zenit's success was Janis Timma. The talented Latvian forward (the 2014-15 Young Player of the Year in the VTB United League) had a terrific series, guiding his team to a 3-0 sweep. His best performance came in Game 2, when he erupted for 35 points and 15 rebounds, setting two new playoff records. Compared to the regular season, his efficiency rating improved by an average of 14.4, earning him the quarterfinal MVP honors.

Tyrese Rice, Khimki guard

Change in efficiency rating: +14.2
Regular season stats: 26.0 minutes, 14.8 points, 2.1 rebounds, 6.6 assists and a 16.8 efficiency rating
Playoff stats: 28.5 minutes, 28.3 points, 2.7 rebounds, 5.3 assists and a 31.0 efficiency rating

Tyrese Rice is already a star, which makes his incredible leap in efficiency rating that much more shocking. During the quarterfinal series vs. Lokomotiv-Kuban, the American point guard couldn't be stopped, tying the league record for points in a playoff game (35 in Game 2). Can he keep it up in the semifinals? Khimki needs Rice to be at his best in order to compete with Euroleague champs CSKA.

Pavel Korobkov, CSKA center

Change in efficiency rating: +12.4
Regular season stats: 15.4 minutes, 5.5 points, 2.6 rebounds and a 7.1 efficiency rating
Playoff stats: 12.5 minutes, 13.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and a 19.5 efficiency rating

The Army Men's Russian center underwent an operation on his knee in January, requiring a lengthy recovery. But he returned to the court when his team needed him most, putting up 24 points (7-9 from the field) to go with six rebounds, four steals and one block in Game 3 vs. Nymburk! Korobkov was CSKA's most efficient contributor during the quarterfinals and could see significant playing time in the semis vs. Khimki's imposing frontcourt.

Tyler Honeycutt, Khimki forward

Change in efficiency rating: +8.4
Regular season stats: 19.0 minutes, 5.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, 1.3 assists and a 9.9 efficiency rating
Playoff stats: 25.5 minutes, 8.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists and an 18.3 efficiency rating

Khimki had to play without big men James Augustine and Paul Davis in the quarterfinals, going small with Honeycutt at center. He delivered, outhustling and outjumping his opponents to average nine boards in 25 minutes on the court. Like Rice, Honeycutt nearly doubled his efficiency rating from the regular season. The American forward was always in the right place at the right time against Lokomotiv-Kuban.

Cory Higgins, CSKA guard

Change in efficiency rating: +6.2
Regular season stats: 20.0 minutes, 10.9 points and an 11.1 efficiency rating
Playoff stats: 23.2 minutes, 16.3 points and a 17.3 efficiency rating

CSKA had its hands full with Nymburk in the first round. The Czechs played disciplined, smart basketball, keeping Games 1 and 2 close until the 4th quarter. But the Army Men had a surprise of their own. Cory Higgins stepped up big-time in Game 1, scoring 21 points and went on to start Game 2. The swingman continued to make big contributions in the series, finishing as CSKA's top scorer.

Latavious Williams, UNICS forward

Change in efficiency rating: +4.6
Regular season stats: 19.3 minutes, 9.7 points, 6.6 rebounds and a 15.4 efficiency rating
Playoff stats: 27.3 minutes, 9.3 points, 9.7 rebounds and a 20.0 efficiency rating

UNICS's traditional leaders (except Keith Langford and Quino Colom) were relatively quiet in the first round, but Evgeny Pashutin didn't panic, turning to Latavious Williams. While Langford took care of business on offense, Williams was a force on the defensive end. The athletic big man nearly averaged a double-double and had a key role in the series sweep of Nizhny Novgorod.

Keith Langford, UNICS guard

Change in efficiency rating: +4.2
Regular season stats:
31.4 minutes, 21.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and an 18.8 efficiency rating
Playoff stats:
35.1 minutes, 24.3 points, 4.7 rebounds and a 23.0 efficiency rating

Keith Langford enjoyed a terrific regular season, but there's always room for improvement, even when you are the league's top scorer. Langford played more minutes and improved in points and rebounds to help Kazan overcome a scrappy Nizhny Novgorod club. Nizhny couldn't stop the American phenom, who stepped up in big moments to guide UNICS to the next round.