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Western Conference Finals Preview: Mavericks and Thunder

It has taken a while but we are finally here, the Western Conference Finals. If you can remember it took Dallas only four games to send the Lakers on summer vacation and Oklahoma City punched their ticket today after winning Game 7 against the blue collar Memphis Grizzlies.

Again we have a young versus old match up, however this OKC team isn’t an inexperienced young side and Dallas is standing the test of time. Let’s break down this series and see how it will unfold.

Dallas has Nowitzki and OKC has Durant, both unstoppable and neither team has anyone who can match up against them. The only person that is going to beat them is themselves and that is very unlikely. Each team’s supporting cast is very good, the Thunder has more presence inside with Perkins and Ibaka, but I don’t expect them to dominate the boards like the Bulls did against Miami. The Mavs have a better scoring punch coming from their supporting cast with Terry, Kidd, Barea and Stojakovic all able to light it up in a short amount of time.

This series will be in the hands of Russell Westbrook, like I said in OKC’s Game 7 preview, he will have to play more like a point guard rather than a scorer. He did that in Game 7 and the Thunder came away with a comfortable win in the end. No Dallas player is going to be able to match up with Westbrook, in Oklahoma City’s case let’s hope that this doesn’t go to his head and make him think that he can take everyone on because that’s what he’ll be doing when the four Dallas players come to help on defense.

It is going to be interesting to see if Westbrook has learned anything from the last to series. OKC’s trip to the NBA Finals lies with him, but I don’t think he is at that level where he can be consistent for four games, especially against the tough veteran Mavericks.

Dallas wins the series in 5

Until next time..

D.B.

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NBA: Where Favorites Get Beaten

If we have learned anything from these playoffs it is that no team is safe. The Los Angeles Lakers are yet another “favorite” on the brink of elimination down 3-0 to the Dallas Mavericks. I say “favorite” because basically every sports writer outside of Texas has picked them to win. Yes, the Lakers are the two time defending champions, however the Spurs’ resume was also far more impressive than the Grizzlies, and we already know the result of that series.

The Mavs also have a reputation, although unlike the Lakers, it isn’t a good one. Soft is the term that we hear the most when people describe the play of Dallas. Their ability to throw away commanding leads, early exits from the playoffs in previous years and most of all the play of the face of their franchise, Dirk Nowitzki, has attributed to this tag.

But the Mavericks aren’t who we thought they were, tipped to be the most likely top seed to be upset in the first round, they got through the Trail Blazers pretty convincingly and weren’t given a chance against the defending champs. Softness is no longer a factor, they have been grinding it out all playoffs. Games 1 and 3 against LA could have gone either way, it could easily be 2-1 in favor of the Lakers but the Mavs were the ones making plays, limiting mistakes down the stretch and most of all the outstanding play by Dirk.

Now that they are up 3-0 there is still no time to relax, they haven’t actually won the series yet and it would be a shame to be known as the first team in NBA history to drop a three game lead in the playoffs.

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant told the media yesterday that he is confident that they will still win this series. It is highly doubtful but Kobe will more than likely try to take over every game that follows in an effort of desperation to stay in these playoffs and win his sixth ring. If he does achieve this then he could possibly have an argument of being as good as MJ, However Michael never let his team go down 0-3 in a series.

I find it hard to believe that the Lakers won’t win a single game this series, but the way the Mavs have been playing a sweep is on the cards.

Until next time..

D.B.

Do you have thoughts on this topic? Reply in the comments section. Follow us on twitter @hoopsweblog and subscribe to get regular updates.

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