As Al Pacino might tell you, basketball, like life, is a game of inches. And the inches we need are all around us; we just have to resolve to grab them. Nowhere are these inches more important than in the playoffs.
With the postseason action finally underway—why do they make us wait 82 games?—it's important to remember that all 16 teams left have a host of factors distinguishing them from the lottery teams watching at home.
But among the playoff teams, the differences are slight and the advantages minute. A foot on the line or a fingertip on the ball can turn defeat into victory.
Some advantages, like LeBron James, are more overt, while others are most subtle, like the altitude sickness that creeps over visiting teams in Denver.
Each squad has a unique X-factor, a player or quality that no other playoff team can match, and here's one for every postseason contender.