The NBA Playoffs are where amazing happens everyday. Good players play great, great players play fantastic. It’s where a buzzer-beater shot to win the game is a highlight forever, not just for the week.
In the playoffs it’s not players that take their teams to the promise land, it's teamwork. Players putting it all on the line for the most prized trophy in basketball.
The question is who will step up, and who needs to step up for their team to be successful?
Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Detroit Pistons
It may not look like the Cavs need anything, because they’re a pretty stacked team. They almost beat Philly without their stars, and have the best home record in the NBA.
For them to win I think it's key for Daniel Gibson to do great things. He’s had great games for the Cavs in past playoffs games, and I think he needs to do the most he can do when he’s on the court.
He’s not a starter, and I don’t think he should be with the way Mo Williams is playing, but when Mo’s on the bench getting a rest Gibson has got to fill in for that.
I am confident he can do great things for this Cavs team. In the game that LeBron James was sitting, Gibson scored 28 points and had seven assists. He is a talented young point guard and a key for the Cavaliers' success coming off the bench.
As for the Pistons to be successful, the key is Richard Hamilton. Since he has come off the bench the team has played a lot better.
When Hamilton scores big numbers it heightens their chances of winning and if they have any chance at beating the Cavs he needs to have some major games.
Atlanta Hawks vs. Miami Heat
For the Hawks to be successful and make it all the way I think that Josh Smith needs to play to his mass potential.
He’s a tremendous athlete and is dominant when he drives the lane. If he can improve on his shooting I think the Hawks can be very successful in the playoffs.
They took care of the Heat in the first game and a large part of it was Smith getting fast break dunks Miami couldn’t stop.
If they can continue and do what they did against the Heat, they aren’t just a contender, they’re fully in the hunt.
The Heat were embarrassed by the Hawks on Sunday. This has a lot to do with the team being too dependent on Dwayne Wade.
In order to make it past the first round, they need a few players to be a lot more productive.
First, Michael Beasley needs to be more productive defensively and offensively. They keep switching him from the small forward and power forward positions so he needs to keep Atlanta’s players in check, mainly Josh Smith.
Second, Mario Chalmers needs to play at a high level to set up his players, and when he gets that open look he needs to hit it with as much precision as the shot to take the National Championship into overtime in college.
Last, Daequan Cook needs to find his range and his shot again. He was the All-Stars' three-point champ but has gone cold since. He did this at Ohio State at the end of the year, which was why he was a sixth man and not a starter. He needs to prove he deserves to be in this league.
Boston Celtics vs. Chicago Bulls
For Boston I think that “Big Baby” Davis has to try and fill in Kevin Garnett’s shoes as much as possible.
Don’t get me wrong; he can’t fill in KG’s shoes, but he needs to do as much as he can defensively to give them a chance to win. The main thing he needs to try and make up for is the defensive end.
A lot of people acted surprised the Bulls beat the Celtics in their first game. When you look at their talent it should be no surprise at all.
The two keys to victory is Rookie of the Year Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah. Rose was the major reason they won, tying Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for most points in a debut in the playoffs with 36 points.
Why I say Noah is a key is because him and Rose have played in the biggest stage in college. Rose made it to the National Championship game last season and Noah helped his team to two straight.
Pressure doesn’t affect them as it would most young players in the NBA. And if the Bulls win this series it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Orlando Magic
In order for the 76ers to keep winning against the Magic they need to contain Dwight Howard. If they can do that defensively then it will take a team effort to beat this young talented squad.
On the same note, Howard needs to be dominant for the Magic to win. He’s their MVP and needs to carry his team on his back and keep controlling the paint.
They may have lost the first game despite Howard’s strong performance, but it was a close game.
L.A. Lakers vs. Utah Jazz
For the Lakers to keep doing what they’re doing I believe it’s up to Andrew Bynum. With him and Pau Gasol in the middle along with Lamar Odom this is an unstoppable force.
There really isn’t any key for the Lakers because they’re just so talented.
I really don’t think there is anything the Jazz can do to stop the Lakers. They would have to defend every position with perfection. With this Laker team, you just have to pick your poison.
The Nuggets have to continue the run they have started and keep their foot on the gas pedal and they will win this series.
San Antonio Spurs vs. Dallas Mavericks
This is Dirk Nowitzki vs. Tim Duncan and I love the matchup. Duncan is one of the best ever at the power forward position and Nowitzki has been one of the best in the league.
Whoever wins this matchup I believe has the best chance of winning. Its power vs. athleticism and the result is unknown.