NBA Playoffs 2013: Biggest X-Factors for Each Team on Sunday Night

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NBA Playoffs 2013: Biggest X-Factors for Each Team on Sunday Night
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday night will provide plenty of action in the NBA playoffs.  The San Antonio Spurs are looking for a sweep against the Los Angeles Lakers, while the Golden State Warriors look to go up 3-1 against the Denver Nuggets.

Each team will need a true X-factor player to step up tonight in order to come away with a win.  Here is the X-factor for each team.

 

San Antonio Spurs – Kawhi Leonard

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

All of the attention is going towards the big three for the Spurs.  Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili will continue to be the main focus for the Lakers, which will allow other guys step up and make an impact.

Through the first three games, that guy has been Leonard.  He has averaged 12 points and around seven rebounds per game.  In Game 2, he finished with 16 points and seven rebounds while shooting 8-for-12 from the field.

Leonard needs to keep playing as well as he has been for the Spurs to finish the series sweep.  The Lakers will keep focusing on the big three; meanwhile Leonard will keep scoring.

 

Los Angeles Lakers – Darius Morris

Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Before the start of this series, not a lot of people knew who Morris was.  He averaged 4.0 points per game on 38.8 percent shooting.

Now, Morris is becoming an important piece of this team.

Without Steve Blake and Steve Nash, Morris has had to step up in the last two games.  He put up 10 points in Game 2, then came back in Game 3 and scored 24 points and had six assists.

It’s looking quite unlikely that the Lakers can win Game 4 and extend this series.  However, a big performance by Morris could make this a possibility.

 

Denver Nuggets – Corey Brewer

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Nuggets have been relying heavily upon their starters, including Andre Iguodala and Ty Lawson.  The bench hasn’t been very productive, but Brewer has been one of the bright spots coming off of the bench.

So far, Brewer has scored in double figures in the first three games of this series.  It’s been a difficult series for the Nuggets, especially without Danilo Gallinari out with a torn ACL.  The bench has been seriously struggling, but Brewer keeps finding ways to be productive.

In order to even the series, the Nuggets will need to feed Brewer the ball more often.  He seems to be the guy to go to on the bench for scoring, so keeping him hot will be critical to pulling out a win.

 

Golden State Warriors – Harrison Barnes

Steph Curry keeps stealing the show night after night, but Barnes has done plenty to shine on this team.

Game 2 was Barnes’ breakout game in this series.  He finished with 24 points and six rebounds while shooting 9-for-14 from the field.

He also happened to put up this exciting slam dunk.

Barnes has now become another scoring threat for the Warriors in this series.  With how close two of the three games have been, Barnes needs to continue stepping up game after game to help the Warriors make a deep run into the playoffs.

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