2013 NBA Playoffs: Players Who Need to Show Up Big in 1st Round

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2013 NBA Playoffs: Players Who Need to Show Up Big in 1st Round
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Carmelo Anthony will have to step up big if he wants to get the Knicks past the first round.

The field will be cut in half after the first round of the NBA playoffs. Players and coaches have seven games to prove they can at least get to the second round. 

Some teams are stronger than others obviously. Not everyone has three All-Stars in the lineup who can come in and be equally as effective as the star before.

Most teams have one standout player who needs to step up if his team is to move on, and take one step closer to the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy.

Here are four players who must have big games in the first round of this year's NBA postseason.

 

Carmelo Anthony

Anthony has had an amazing season. He has stepped up big, especially in the past few weeks. But it's not what you do in the regular season that counts. If the New York Knicks want to get past the Boston Celtics, Anthony must perform just as well, if not better, than he has been all season.

The Celtics will surely play inspirational basketball for the city of Boston, and it will not be easy to beat them. But if Anthony puts up his usual numbers, and others contribute as well, the Knicks should get past the first round. 

But again, it's contingent on how well Anthony plays.

 

Who makes it past the first round?

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Deron Williams

I'm just going to put it out there: This could be the most interesting matchup in the first round. 

 

More than likely the Nets will play the Chicago Bulls when all the standings are confirmed.

In order for Brooklyn to beat the Bulls, and get past the first round, Williams must step up big time. He has to play well if he wants to get his team to the next round. 

Both teams match up well, but Williams has to be the difference. 

He has taken a fall from grace, and many don't consider him an elite point guard anymore. However, he can change people's minds if he plays well in the playoffs. 

There is nothing like having a few great games to get you back on the map.

Williams will do well to seize this opportunity.

 

Dwight Howard

First scenario: The Los Angeles Lakers make the playoffs.

Who gets the eighth seed in the Western Conference?

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If the Lakers are in the playoffs, Howard has to be the man to step up. Playing without Kobe Bryant is hard enough. Howard can silence some of his critics by not only securing a spot in the playoffs but getting past the first round as well. 

All of the drama surrounding him from the beginning of the season will be forgotten for a little while if he can just deliver. 

Howard can do it, and he must. There really is no way around it. He has to be the star for the Lakers for the rest of however long their season will be.

And it may not be very long. Depending on what happens on the last night of the regular season, the Lakers will either play the Oklahoma City Thunder or the San Antonio Spurs.

 

Al Jefferson

Second scenario: The Utah Jazz make the playoffs

 

It's a long shot, I know. The Jazz will need some magic if they want to make it to the first round of the playoffs.

But let's say they do, and the team gets the highly coveted eighth seed in the Western Conference.

But then it has to face the formidable Oklahoma City Thunder. 

The Jazz can't catch a break.

But an No. 8 seed has beaten a No. 1 seed before, so it's not unheard of. 

If Utah wants this to happen, it's going to need every single one of its players to step up, most of all, Jefferson.

You get Jefferson on a good night, and he's as good as anyone in the NBA. But catch him on a bad night, and he can be practically invisible. 

The bottom line is he can be a really great player, and he is going to have no choice but to be. The odds are not in the Utah Jazz's favor, but anything can happen.

Don't rule out anything just yet.

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