The Biggest X-Factors for Each Conference Finalist Remaining in NBA Playoffs

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The Biggest X-Factors for Each Conference Finalist Remaining in NBA Playoffs
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Birdman's post presence significantly changes the complexion of the Miami Heat.

The NBA conference finals will be determined just as much by the X-factors as they will be by the stars.

That isn't to say the great players aren't the most important ones in the series; they're just less volatile.

LeBron James is going to be a one-man force of nature for the Miami Heat and the Indiana Pacers' Paul George will strive to match him with his incredible athleticism. In the Western Conference finals, Marc Gasol of the Memphis Grizzlies and the San Antonio Spurs' Tim Duncan will battle on both ends of the floor to see who's the more dominant big man.

A big part of those players' stardom is their consistency. You know what type of production you're going to get from those guys in any given game.

It's the unpredictable elements that can turn a close series into a blowout or tip it toward the underdog. The impact role players and strategic maneuvers—whether they work out or not—will ultimately decide which teams move on to the NBA Finals.

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