NBA Playoffs 2012: 5 Keys to Winning 2nd Round for Every 1st-Round Survivor
Now that the entire first round of the NBA playoffs is in the books, we can finally start looking ahead to the second round. For all eight teams that have made it past the first round, there are certain factors that will equate to success as they inch closer to a championship.
The playoffs have not disappointed in any way, shape or form, and basketball fans should be in for a serious treat with the semifinals matchups.
But before you turn on your television, read on to find out every NBA playoff survivor's five keys to winning in the second round.
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
The Indiana Pacers looked pretty darn good against the Orlando Magic. Sure, Dwight Howard may have been out, but even had he played, the Magic wouldn't have been guaranteed an appearance in the second round.
Danny Granger and David West both stepped up their game, and Roy Hibbert looked like one of the best centers in the NBA.
The Pacers are a young, well-rounded team capable of knocking off the Miami Heat, but it certainly won't be easy.
1. Control the post.
2. Limit LeBron James by making him shoot jump shots more and drive less.
3. Go with a bigger lineup.
4. Granger and West need to come up big.
5. Keep up the good defense.
Marc Serota/Getty Images
The Miami Heat are expected to win a NBA championship this year—and every year after that as long as they have the Big Three, for that matter. If that were not the case, then the Heat would not get so much scrutiny.
There are not many players in the NBA better than LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. James did just win his third MVP award after all. Add Chis Bosh into the mix, and you will have a nearly unstoppable force in the NBA.
1. James closes in the fourth quarter.
2. Miami's fast-break offense thrives.
3. Miami stays healthy.
4. Experience of the Big Three.
5. Not getting ahead of themselves and looking at the task at hand.
The Philadelphia 76ers are obviously a great team and there is no taking that away from them, but they dodged a bullet when Derrick Rose got injured.
Rose won an MVP award just a year ago, which means he was obviously valuable to the Chicago Bulls. There is no denying that, and the Bulls are a much better team with him than they are without him.
With that said, the 76ers are a young ball club, and a very talented one at that.
1. Maintain a balanced attack on offense.
2. Evan Turner must keep on producing on offense.
3. Push the ball up the court for a lot of fast breaks; wear down Boston.
4. Close out games.
5. Keep on crashing the boards.
The Boston Celtics are too old to make a run to the NBA Finals. I am sure you have heard that way too many times, and it is a lie if I have ever heard one.
The Celtics have experience, which is one of the biggest components to winning NBA championships—or any championship.
Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce can all ball, still. Plus, they have Rajon Rondo to guide them to success.
1. Rondo continues to be an assist machine.
2. Garnett and Pierce continue to be productive on offense.
3. Doc Rivers must rest the Big Three when Boston is ahead or at opportune times.
4. Rebound the ball more than the 76ers to prevent fast-break points.
5. Allen unleashes the three-ball.
Los Angeles Lakers
Harry How/Getty Images
The Los Angeles Lakers just about shocked the basketball world when they almost lost to the Denver Nuggets, but at the end of the day, the Lakers moved on to the second round of the playoffs.
You would think the Lakers would have no trouble—they do have Kobe Bryant, along with two seven-footers—but it is what it is.
1. Kobe Bryant is unstoppable, like always.
2. Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol both play consistently.
3. Metta World Peace plays like he did in Game 7 against the Nuggets.
4. Keep the ball in Russell Westbrook's hands for most of the Thunder's possessions instead of Kevin Durant's.
5. Defense contains Westbrook and Durant.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
The Oklahoma City Thunder are a two-man wrecking crew, consisting of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
Both players are complete studs when it comes to putting the basketball through the hoop. Although their games sometimes clash with each other, the Thunder are still one of the highest-scoring teams in the league.
1. Contain Kobe Bryant.
2. Make sure Westbrook isn't too much of a ball hog.
3. Durant takes all the shots when the game is on the line, not Westbrook.
4. Control the boards; don't let the Lakers' two seven-footers dominate.
5. Get back on defense after scoring all of those fast-break points.
Los Angeles Clippers
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
The Los Angeles Clippers are one of the most fun teams to watch in the NBA, thanks to the combination of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin.
Both of these players are true All-Stars that are going to bring the "other" team in Los Angeles to heights that it has never reached before.
Before the Clippers can do that, though, they must get past the San Antonio Spurs.
1. Contain the Spurs' high-powered offense.
2. Players other than Griffin and Paul must step up on offense.
3. Nick Young goes off behind the arc.
4. Paul plays like the best point guard in the league.
5. Rebound the ball better.
San Antonio Spurs
Steve Dykes/Getty Images
It is simply amazing how the San Antonio Spurs have been written off the past couple of years, yet have still managed to have one of the best records in the NBA.
The Spurs are known for having Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan, but they have a lot of depth supporting those three players, too.
This depth has led the Spurs to one of the best offenses in the league this year.
1. Ginobili averages more than 8.5 points per game.
2. Parker continues to be an amazing floor general.
3. Control the boards.
4. Don't let Blake Griffin's monster dunks change the momentum of the game.
5. Continue successfully rotating so many different players.
If you’re a tweeter, feel free to follow me @TheTrevorLowry.