The playoffs are finally here and the teams competing are carefully preparing their game plans. Only, the best game plan might fail without some individual brilliance. Lets have a look at which players will make the difference in the West?
San Antonio Spurs (1) vs Utah Jazz (8)Manu Ginobili - When fit and firing Ginobili is one of the best scorers in the league. San Antonio have been able to rest him towards the end of the year so he should be in great condition leading into the playoffs. This spells danger for Utah in this first round match-up. Gordon Hayward - Hayward has been in career best form this year and if he can hit his open shots in this series it will make life a lot tougher for the favoured Spurs.
Oklahoma City Thunder (2) vs Dallas Mavericks (7)James Harden - Famously on the receiving end of an erratic Metta World Peace elbow, the way he recovers could make all the difference for the young OKC. Favoured for the sixth man of the year award this year, Harden has taken his game to another level. Compliments the games of Durant and Westbrook perfectly. Delonte West - A supremely talented individual who can win a game for Dallas if he is playing at his best. The biggest question mark will be whether he can stay out of trouble long enough to make a difference.
Los Angeles Lakers (3) vs Denver Nuggets (6)Pau Gasol - Almost traded away by the Lakers early on in the season, Gasol has a point to prove. Hasn't had his greatest season since joining the Lakers but when on his game can compliment Kobe's game perfectly. Has the talent to make a big impact on this series. Danilo Gallinari - The Nuggets have enormous depth, but Gallinari has the ability to score heavily when it is needed. If he hits a couple of clutch three's throughout the series the Nuggets could be a chance to pull of an upset.
Memphis Grizzlies (4) vs Los Angeles Clippers (5)Zach Randolph - An absolute beast down low, who can dominate any defence on his day. Played exceptionally well in the playoffs last year and looks like he is ready to do it again. If he plays his best Memphis could make a deep playoff run. Randy Foye - Has been in great form late in the year, hitting multiple three pointers in most games. With Chris Paul passing him the ball, he should have enough open looks to impact this series.
The Western Conference first round match-ups look a lot closer then in the East. One play could mean the difference between winning or loosing the series. But who will it be that makes that play?