Now that both Conference finals are primed and set up to start, its time to take a look at the matchups and all they encompass. In the West, the Warriors have advanced to their Conference finals after beating a lesser Blazers team led by Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum in five games. While the Thunder showed heart and fortitude in their victory over the experienced Spurs in six games. The success of both the Thunder and Warriors has created a star studded matchup in the wild-wild West, showcasing five respective All-Stars, and is sure to bring out some extreme competition as one of these teams fights to the NBA Finals.
Lets take a look at what should be a phenomenal series from both perspectives.
Golden State Warriors: The best team in the NBA, with the best record the league has ever seen, with the reigning back-to-back MVP and two other All-Stars on the roster, not including Andre Iguodala. Oh yes, GSW is one frightening team from head to toe; is this something the Thunder can say? The Dubs bench averages 34 points, about 16 rebounds, and over nine assists as a second unit while they shoot an efficient 45 % from the field. This consistency has allowed the Warriors to remain strong even when their starters are sitting out throughout the entire season, and I believe it will help in this series especially. Oklahoma’s bench is ranked 19th in the NBA and has been inconsistent the entire year; while Enes Kanter has helped on the scoring side of this end, I fear the Warriors second unit will be able to slow down the Thunder’s. The Dubs starters should not be forgotten though, and while I do believe the high scoring duo of Curry and Thompson will be an issue for OKC, I think it will be up to Draymond Green’s ability to slow Durant that will prove most useful for the Warriors.
Oklahoma City Thunder: The Thunder are undoubtedly one of the most talented teams in the entire league, with a roster that boasts two of the top five players in the NBA in Durant and Westbrook. Both of these guys have really stepped up thus far in the playoffs and I only expect them to elevate their games at this next level; I would like to see Westbrook do his best against Curry and truly give him a handful on both sides of the ball. I also hope to see Durant continue to score in bunches and get his team over the continuous cold spells they face in the fourth quarter. But even if both of these stars play above their heads, will it be enough to beat the best team in the NBA? I say possibly. If Serge Ibaka, who has been missing all playoffs, can get involved both offensively and defensively, I think he will be able to virtually cancel out paint-scoring for the Dubs. I also think that if OKC’s two big men in Steven Adams and Enes Kanter can continue to be big factors in the overall team play, they can make a difference in the series. Finally, Dion Waiters will also need to continue to step up and hit big shots when the team goes to him, something he has surprisingly done well these Playoffs.
Prediction: I have the Warriors in seven games, winning a hard fought battle against some very worthy opponents.
All Images via Google.com
All Stats via hoopstats.com