Thunder Goes Into Playoffs as Dangerous Sleeper
The Oklahoma City Thunder looked as if they were the team to beat if not in the entire NBA, the Western Conference. But the San Antonio Spurs have let the rest of the league know that they are still a team capable of making a championship run.Most people probably thought the Spurs would go away quietly after their heartbreaking loss to the Miami Heat in last year’s NBA Finals. With the advancing age of their stars Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker, surely they would struggle in the very tough West.
The Thunder seemed to be the logical team to take over as the best team in the conference. But the Spurs were magnificent in the regular season, especially in the second half. But yet, going into the playoffs the Thunder is probably considered the dangerous sleeper to win the Western Conference.
The Los Angeles Clippers are probably the team most feel have the best chance to upset the Spurs and get to the Finals if the Thunder doesn’t make it. But the favorite has to be the Spurs after where they finished the season.
The Thunder though has been to the Finals in the last two years. They beat the Spurs in the playoffs to get there. They should be better than they were two years ago and the Spurs should be two years older. But the Thunder doesn’t have James Harden this time around. He is teamed up with Dwight Howard and the Houston Rockets who are also a team capable of making a deep run.
With MVP candidate Kevin Durant playing as well as he ever has and a healthy Russell Westbrook, they certainly have the talent to win it all. The one troubling thing though about the Thunder is that they can go on the road and beat the Clippers one game and then lay an egg at the Indiana Pacers the next. But other than the Spurs just about every team in these playoffs can say the same. With teams like the Golden State Warriors, Dallas Mavericks, the Rockets and the Memphis Grizzlies, there is no team in the playoffs that doesn’t have recent success to give them confidence they can beat anyone.
But the playoffs normally come down to which team has the best player, and that guy has to be Durant. He has consistently scored over 30 points per game this season, occasionally exploding for game over 40. That has to make the Thunder the team to watch out for.
Sportsbook has the odds on winning the Western Conference:
We like the Thunder to represent the West in the NBA Finals. We think the Spurs are not going to be able to keep up their pace in the playoffs.