Players to watch in NBA 1st round

Can anyone beat LeBron James and the Miami Heat? Which Los Angeles club will go deeper in the NBA playoffs? Who are the key players in each quarter-final series?

Heat's LeBron James, Warriors' Curry on a roll heading into playoffs

Can anyone beat the Heat? Which of the Los Angeles teams will last longer in the NBA playoffs? Will it be Chris Paul and the Clippers or the Kobe Bryant-less Lakers?

Conference quarter-final action begins Saturday on four fronts, with the New York Knicks hosting Boston, Chicago at Brooklyn, Golden State in Denver, and Memphis visiting the Clippers in L.A.

The other four series begin Sunday and feature the top-ranked teams in the Eastern and Western Conferences, with Miami hosting Milwaukee and Oklahoma City drawing No. 8 Houston. San Antonio hosts the L.A. Lakers and the Atlanta Hawks visit Indiana.

The conference semifinals are tentatively scheduled to start May 7, followed by the East and West finals on May 22 and the NBA Finals on June 6.

Forward LeBron James (pictured above) will attempt to win back-to-back titles with the Heat after a dominant performance in the regular season that will very likely lead to his fourth NBA MVP award in five years.