NBA Playoffs Preview: Western Conference Finals
San Antonio Spurs vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
It was apparent throughout the season that the Spurs and Thunder were the two best teams in the Western Conference. It seemed it was destiny that the two would meet up in a battle to decide who would represent the Western Conference in the NBA Finals.
The San Antonio Spurs are on one of the most impressive runs in recent memory. The Spurs have a perfect 8-0 record thus far in the playoffs, and are on an 18-game winning streak dating back to the regular season. There is no team playing better basketball at the moment than the Spurs and it is very apparent.
In the Western Conference Semifinals, the Spurs were matched up against the Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers were coming off an impressive series win over the Memphis Grizzlies. It was the same Memphis team that knocked the Spurs out of the first round in last year’s postseason.
Inconsistent play, poor decisions, and terrible free throw shooting doomed the Clippers and the Spurs won this series in yet another four game sweep. The Spurs and Clippers are two very opposite teams. The Clippers are flashy, but inexperienced and very mistake-prone. The Spurs are not flashy(usually) and always seem to make the right decisions. San Antonio shows that playing smart and limiting mistakes is better in the long run than only making the YouTube highlight reels every night.
The Oklahoma City Thunder faced off against the Los Angeles Lakers in the second round. The Lakers were coming off a surprising seven game series against the Denver Nuggets, and the Thunder easily swept the defending champion Dallas Mavericks in round one. The only team besides the Spurs that would be able to challenge the Thunder would be the Lakers. This was not the case however in this series.
Game 1 was an absolute blowout. Oklahoma City was hitting shot after shot and ended up winning by 29 points. Games 2-4 were all close contests. Game 2 saw the Thunder rally from down seven with two minutes to go to win by two. In Game 3, the Lakers got the victory at home after some questionable officiating . Game 4 required a three pointer by Kevin Durant of the Thunder to seal the victory, and in Game 5 the Thunder dominated at home and closed out the series four games to one.
This series matchup between the Spurs and the Thunder could be one for the ages. At this point in the season, they are clearly the two best teams in the entire league. Both of these teams are fantastic at home as the had a combined 54-12 home record in the regular season and a perfect 9-0 record this postseason. Look for whichever team that steals a road game first to win the series and advance to the Finals.
Thanks to our friends at Sports Media 101.