The playoff matchups are set and the teams are frantically preparing for their oppositions, but which players will have a major impact on their teams fates this postseason? Lets have a look at the X-Factors in the east..
Chicago Bulls (1) vs Philadelphia 76ers (8)Derrick Rose - The way Rose bounces back from his injury problems this year will be a major factor in determining how far the Bulls go in these playoffs. While a red hot Rose probably isn't necessary to beat the 76ers, they would want him to be 100% fit and firing by the second round. Evan Turner - If the 2nd overall pick in the 2010 draft can live up to his potential and get hot in the playoffs the 76ers stand a much greater chance of pulling off an upset.
Miami Heat (2) vs New York Knicks (7)Chris Bosh - When Chris Bosh is firing the Heat are hard to stop. James and Wade are not going to have many quiet games, so in a match where Bosh scores over 20, if you were a betting man, you would put your money on Miami. Tyson Chandler - Miami don't like playing against Chandler. That much is for sure. A key member of the Dallas team who beat the Heat in the Finals last year, Chandler could be the key to New York's playoff run. The centre spot is Miami's weakest position and Chandler could be the man to exploit that with his incredibly efficient offence and tough inside defence.
Indiana Pacers (3) vs Orlando Magic (6)Leandro Barbosa - Indiana's starting five has been solid so far this year, so if Barbosa can produce his best basketball off the bench they could scare some of their more fancied opponents later in the playoffs. Without Howard defending the key in this series Barbosa's speed could make him the match-winner if Granger has a down game. Glen Davis - Starting in place of the injured Dwight Howard the importance of Davis can't be understated. He has all the moves to be a starting centre in this league, but is he good enough to lead a team to a playoff victory?
Boston Celtics (4) vs Atlanta Hawks (5)Kevin Garnett - Can Garnett's leadership take this ageing Boston line-up on another deep playoff run? We all know that this man never gives up so anything is possible. Joe Johnson - Atlanta's best player needs to step up and play at his absolute best if they want to make the second round of the playoffs. The Hawks have trusted him with their franchise and now he needs to deliver.
Will a player come out of nowhere and shine in the spotlight? Is there an upset in the works? Let me know your thoughts on the upcoming Eastern Conference playoffs.