Instead of boring you with complete break-downs and predictions of all eight teams competing in the Western Conference playoffs, I thought it would be more logical to take a look into the future and predict the two teams I expect to see go head-to-head in the NBA Western Conference finals. Call me crazy, call me insane, but if you look at the history of my predictions, you should call me correct.
Oklahoma City Thunder:
After the NBA All-star break I predicted that the Thunder would edge the Spurs and finish with the best record in the West. The fact that the Thunder will return to the Western Conference finals should be of no surprise, however, the most important question is will the Thunder overcome their 2011-2012 NBA Finals shortcomings against the Miami Heat?
My immediate answer is yes, but the key to the Thunder’s success lies in Serge Ibaka and whether or not he can produce at least a 13-point output every game throughout the series while maintaining his defensive dominance. Ibaka has to outperform Bosh in every aspect of the game otherwise the Thunder will witness another championship banner hanging above the rafters of the Miami American Airlines Arena.
The Denver Nuggets will finish off the Golden State Warriors in 6 games which will pit them against the San Antonio Spurs in a battle of the western conference juggernauts. The Nuggets have defeated the Spurs 3-2 in the regular season match-up, including a win in San Antonio and I strongly believe the combination of coach George Karl and Nuggets balanced attack will prove to be too much for the San Antonio Spurs. Veteran point guard Andre Miller and NBA All-star Andre Iguodala bring much needed playoff experience to the team meaning the Nuggets have the perfect combination of leadership and balanced scoring. The Nuggets were also one of the top fast break and 3-point shooting teams in the league during the post season, however, my only concern is the total playoff experience among the rest of the players on the team. If you remove Andre Miller and Andre Iguodala from the equation, I highly doubt the Nuggets would have accomplished the level of success achieved earlier this year.
The Spurs versus Denver series will be a long 7-game series but I expect the Nuggets to dominate at home, mostly due to the teams NBA regular season best home record of 38-3, and pull out a much needed victory in San Antonio to close out the NBA western conference semifinals 4-3 in route to a match-up of the top two teams in the west .