The Utah Jazz just caught the last bus to the semifinals by drubbing the LA Clippers in Game 7, 104-91; meanwhile the Boston Celtics drew first blood in Game 1 of their semifinal matchup against the Washington Wizards by converting 19 threes, and winning 123-111.

Now that the cast is complete, who are the possible X-Factors for the second round?

EAST: #1 Celtics v #4 Wizards

BOSTON CELTICS

Gerald Green. The Celtics can’t keep making a ton of threes like they did in their first semis game and besides, the Wizards have a good match for Isaiah Thomas in John Wall. So in this case, Green could certainly help by cutting to the basket, finishing those alley oops and speeding up the game for the C’s.

Al Horford. While it’s okay to have a pass-first mentality, Horford has got to provide more reason for the opposition to worry about the middle. If he could consistently be aggressive then that would definitely result in more room for Thomas to operate.

WASHINGTON WIZARDS

Bojan Bogdanovic. Not many teams have the luxury of having a good European player -- sound shooting, good passing skills and high basketball IQ -- and the Wizards are absolutely lucky to have one in Bogdanovic. All he needs is playing time.

Brandon Jennings. Come to think of it, the Wizards actually have the advantage in the PG spot with a quality backup in Jennings who could be used to continuously make Thomas work while Wall is resting -- or perhaps when having a not so good night.

EAST: #2 Cavaliers v #3 Raptors

CLEVELAND CAVALIERS

Deron Williams. The Cavs got their playmaker -- and he can still light it up! While Deron is not a Kyrie, he is still an offensive threat when given the chance to shoot -- and so, providing some valuable respite for Kyrie while they continue their charge.

Kyle Korver. With the presence of the ‘Big 3’, there is less pressure on the shooting hands of Kyle, thus he’d most likely sink more shots that are given him. Watch out!

TORONTO RAPTORS

Norman Powell. Powell just showed he’s ready for the big stage when he helped the Raptors overcome the up-and-coming Milwaukee Bucks in the first round. He’s got a pretty good jumper -- and boy, he could leap! This is quite a relief since their All-Star backcourt just couldn’t seem to really handle pressure.

Serge Ibaka. There was a time when the Raptors used to worry about Valanciunas when playing faster lineups, well, not anymore! They now got Ibaka -- an athletic defender who could shoot threes and get alley oops -- to take the center spot if they wish to go small.

WEST: #1 Warriors v #5 Jazz

GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS

JaVale McGee. Seriously, with McGee in their lineup, the Warriors got the next best thing after losing Andrew Bogut. Though he doesn’t really have the passing skills and offensive moves of Bogut -- he’s athletic enough to finish those oops! He’s got defense. He’s a good free throw shooter. And he’s not really injury-prone!

Matt Barnes. With Barnes, the Warriors now got 3 tough defenders in Green, Iguodala and Matt himself. So in case Green goes like nuts, Barnes could be that valuable insurance. He just got to learn to fight for rebounds.

UTAH JAZZ

Rudy Gobert. The ‘Stifle Tower’ has become even more important as they face the Warriors who has found renewed strength in its reliance on JaVale McGee. And with a rebounder and defensive wiz in a ‘healthy’ Gobert, the Jazz could just be humming.

Joe Johnson. We can’t ignore the fact that Johnson was one reason why the Jazz advanced to the semis, his clutch plays was just retro. Against the Warriors, his skills would especially be needed in tandem with Gordon Hayward as they try to keep in step with KD and the Splash Brothers.

WEST: #2 Spurs v #3 Rockets

SAN ANTONIO SPURS

Patty Mills. Though Tony Parker has been playing his best basketball as of late, the Spurs can’t count on that through and through; after all, he’ll already be turning 35. So, in comes Patty Mills who just has to learn to adjust to Pat Beverley’s physicality -- and when he does, it’d be a battle half-won.

Pau Gasol. Whether Aldridge is in check, foul trouble or resting, Gasol provides that continuity to the Spurs ‘big man’ offense. And since LA hasn’t really been consistent in the PlayOffs so far, Gasol should be given a more active role.

HOUSTON ROCKETS

Eric Gordon and Lou Williams. Since these guys basically play the same position, we might as well dissect them as one -- and this is whether to give Harden a breather or play alongside him, Gordon and Williams are good to have since nobody knows who’s gonna click come game day. More so, with these guys on the floor, the Rockets would always have that opportunity to run and gun.

The heart of the matter is -- every team needs at least 3 players to really score heavily for them (unless their opponent couldn't score as well, or if they can’t get everybody on the scoreboard), for only then would they have a fighting chance of winning.

Say what you?

Published by Consumer Live