Six pivotal players down the stretch

Dwight Howard and others make the difference in season's last month

Updated: March 26, 2013, 12:20 PM ET
By Amin Elhassan | ESPN Insider

As the end of the regular season nears, teams in the hunt begin their preparation for the "second season" -- the playoffs. When I was in Phoenix, we already would have started anticipating possible playoff matchups and preparing game plans for each opponent, including detailed personnel reports and end-of-game play videos.