Welcome to the weekend preview for the NBA Conference Finals. Let's analyze the series thus far and do a sneak peak at who will be in the finals :). I bet you can't guess.....
Thunder Serge….Killed in San Antonio
Well, the streak of San Antonio losing 7 straight times when the Thunder is at full strength ended last night in basketball’s version of a train wreck. The Spurs played absolutely fantastic and OKC just had no chance of keeping up. When the Spurs play like they did last night, with the bench and role-players contributing, I don’t believe there is anyone in the NBA as good. My original prediction in this series was San Antonio in 6 but the way this series is going I will be wrong. Every game has been a 10+ point win and has been devoid of drama. It is unlikely the Spurs can replicate that performance in front of a rabid crowd in Oklahoma City. After being humiliated on the glass in Game 5, I think you will see a full team rebounding effort from the Thunder in Game 6. Ibaka will play better than he did in Game 6 and let’s face it, the whole team outside of Durant and Russell Westbrook cannot play worse than they did in Game 5. To win this series, the Thunder MUST get more from their bench. The downside of moving Reggie Jackson into the starting 5 is they have weakened their bench. Derek Fisher has never been a scorer, Jeremy Lamb is very inconsistent so the only scorer off the bench you have is Caron Butler. Also, I think OKC needs to do more of what Miami does with the Big 3, which is stretch Durant (while giving Ibaka and Westbrook a break) and then when Westbrook and Ibaka come back, you give Durant a rest. This allows you to keep more scoring and balance on the floor while also giving your role players more open looks.
At the end of the day, I just can’t see Oklahoma City winning in San Antonio. The Spurs at home look phenomenal and it would take a herculean effort from everyone else to give them a chance. Spurs will win in 7.
Will the Pacers win in South Beach?
Short answer, I don’t see it. From a pure basketball standpoint, Indiana should be built to beat Miami. Miami has always struggled against good rebounding teams who pound the ball inside. They are deep, play good defense (normally) and have the ability to keep the game close. The reason this series is over is because the mental makeup of Indiana is awful. I am not sure what has transpired but none of them like one another, Frank Vogel has zero control over the team, they pout, are selfish and apparently, Lance Stephenson enjoys taunting the best player in the NBA. It’s not often you think about this with a team that’s made two consecutive Eastern Conference Finals but you MUST blow this team up and start fresh with Paul George. While I enjoyed Indiana’s run last season, I find myself rooting against them and hoping that tonight’s game is over by halftime.
Here’s what I see happening tonight: LeBron is going to go NUTS! If he scores less than 40, the only reason will be he doesn’t play the 4th quarter because the game is completely out of hand. I can’t see a way the Champs lose this game and they will continue their run for a three-peat. Heat win in 6.
I am in awe that a franchise that has been historically terrible is going to sell for 2 Billion Dollars. I can see why Donald Sterling and family are selling this team. Congrats to Steve Ballmer for ending this Clippers saga and starting that organization on the road to recovery. For all those who are clamoring that he shouldn’t be allowed to do this, I am going to paraphrase Samantha Ponder’s tweet which summed it up well “he’s old and very sick, you can’t take it with you”
David Joerger, who Memphis wanted to kicked out the door, will remain as their head coach and spurn the Timberwolves. As much as I love the Timberwolves (they are my team), how much more worthless can one organization get? I hope this is rock bottom because, I am not sure how it can get worse.
Thanks for reading! I will be back with an NBA Finals preview once the Conference Finals are over. Maybe I’ll be shocked and previewing an OKC – Indiana Finals!?!?! (Sorry got carried away there). Follow me on twitter @weigel_a for adorable pictures of my wife/daughter. Always love hearing from y’all!