#1 San Antonio vs. #2 Oklahoma City Thunder
By Spencer Pyke
San Antonio vs. Oklahoma City, also known as the coin flip, is sure to be one of the most entertaining Western Conference Finals in recent memory. One organization is said to be on the way out, while it’s just the beginning for the other. Niether roster’s riddled with injuries or suspensions, just the top two teams ready to duke it out to keep their season alive.
San Antonio enters the series after making quick work of the Jazz and Clippers in eight games and are amidst an 18 game winning streak, having only lost five games since March 1st. Quite a dominating stretch. Against the Clippers, the Spurs had five players average double figures and of those five players, two averaged at least 6.5 boards while the other three averaged at least 3.5 assists. The squad is getting it done from top to bottom, and in my opinion, are the best team remaining in the playoffs. San Antonio leads the postseason in field goal percentage, 49%, three point percentage, 42%, and points per game, 102.5, and have showed no signs of slowing down.
OKC enters their second consecutive Western Conference Finals after eliminating the Lake Show with relative ease. With perhaps the most exciting starting five in the NBA, the best natural scorers, excellent rebounders, lock down defenders, bench players and shot blockers of 2012, the Thunder are still the underdogs against San Antonio. Durantula and OKC are the only other team that has averaged triple figures in scoring in the postseason, which is why this series will come down to defense. Westbrook has to pester Parker enough to throw him off his game, much easier said than done, and the front court must find an answer for Duncan.
The Spurs took two out of three from the Thunder this season with the most recent win coming in OKC on March 16th. I’ve searched far and wide for a weakness of the Spurs, something that OKC has a sure fire advantage at, and I can’t find it. San Antonio has the best record in the West at home, and on the road, and has beaten their opponents by an average of 13 points per game in the ‘offs. OKC has the NBA scoring leader and sixth man magic with Harden coming off the bench, but the Spurs answer that with Parker and Duncan along with Ginobli who averaged 14 points and four dimes off the bench against Clip City. I know they are the darlings of the NBA, and this is supposed to be their time, but San Antonio and Big Time Timmy Jim have looked like Gods amongst mortals these past 88 days.
It will be an exciting series, and has the odds of a coin flip, but numbers don’t lie and neither do I.
San Antonio in 7
#2 Miami Heat vs. #4 Boston Celtics
By Adam Maher
With the series starting on Monday, scheduled to play a game every other night, only one thing is for certain: whoever makes it out of this slug fest of an Eastern Conference Finals is taking a few fresh gashes with them out West.
Last round, I was a complete believer in the Pacers to beat Miami. I did not think LeBron and D-Wade had three games where they'd combine for 65 ppg left in the tank. And forgive me, Mike Miller, your 12 points made all the difference in Game 6. At least I called that Chris Bosh wouldn't return. In the Boston series, I said the Celtics would win in 6 after correctly choosing the Sixers to beat the Bulls. At times I regretted not staying with the 76ers' momentum, but in the end, KG's 19 footers prevailed and Ray Allen helped supplement his less than durable predecessor, Avery Bradley.
Boston beat Miami in their last three meetings during the regular season. Ray Allen is gimpy. Paul Pierce is gimpy. Kevin Garnett has reduced his game to an outside jump shooter. Rajon Rondo is the x-factor. LeBron is crushing, D-Wade is looking as flashy as ever and Mike Miller is proving his worth.
This series is almost moot, sadly. I really don't see either Boston nor Miami having a chance against the Spurs or the Thunder, especially after the bruiser that will be this series.
I've been on the fence about this team all year, but the Heat have too much to lose. They're going to the Finals. Hopefully Bosh will get his groin in order by then and we'll have some fireworks to look forward to.
Miami in 6