The Thunder went into LA, labored through the first quarter, and then pummeled the Lakers in embarrassing fashion, delivering a 102-93 beatdown that was far worse than the score indicated. After the first quarter, the Lakers resembled the aging non-contenders they looked like in the first half of the season: Bad Kobe shots (7-of-25), pathetic supporting cast, and painfully slow and unable to keep up with a star point guard Russell Westbrook (36 points).
The NBA Finals matchup everyone wanted to see is definitely going to happen: The Heat and Thunder are on a collision course in the NBA Finals. The Spurs might put up a good fight, but before you put San Antonio in the Western Conference Finals, remember how ancient they looked last May in the first round against the much younger Grizzlies. (I might pick the Nuggets, if they get the 7th seed, against the Spurs.) I enjoy watching the Bulls, and they’re probably the deepest and best-coached team in the league, but unless somebody’s going to do something in the clutch against Miami – we know D Rose isn’t, not with LeBron on him – they’re not crashing the Finals.
So barring injury, let’s all get pumped for Durant and Westbrook vs. LeBron and Wade. Oh, and ginormous ratings. [SI.com]
* This does not mean I’m giving up on my preseason Clippers pick. Like a Captain who goes down with his ship, I’ll be the last one off.