Thunder Up! How the OKC Thunder Will Win the NBA Championship

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Since I write on Tuesdays here, I got to cheat and see Game 1 of every NBA playoff series early. So instead of putting my foot in my mouth like I did last week, I can say smart things like, “those Pacers still have a lot of work to do, smh.”

This is going better already.

So here are my slightly educated predictions for the NBA Playoffs:

The East –

The dream matchup between the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers seems like a million miles away. Indiana dropped Game 1 at home to the terrible Atlanta Hawks. Truthfully, the Hawks looked like the #1 seed all game, and the Pacers’ problems seem no closer to being solved.

So the question of the day: can the Pacers still make it to the Eastern Conference Finals?

I have Indy going down to the Wizards in the second round.

I’m just as surprised as you are. 1398034804001-2014-04-20-Heat-Bobcats2

On the other side of the bracket, I have the Heat over the Nets in 7. I know the Nets beat the heat 4 times this year. I know this is Paul Piece’s last stand, and he loves playing Miami. I know history says the Heat won’t return to the Finals four times in a row.

But let’s be real…the Heat are just better.

Miami will beat the Wizards in five, and have plenty of time to rest for the Finals.

Now on to the West…

The West –

First of all, this is a complete crapshoot. No one knows what the hell will happen. Anybody can beat anybody, and two of the teams we were sure would lose (Golden State without Andrew Bogut, and the fading Trail Blazers) won on the road in Game 1.

So what the hell, I have the Thunder meeting the Spurs in the Western Conference Finals.

I predicted before the season that the Thunder would go out in Round 2. I figured Russell Westbrook would be in an out of the line up (happened), Serge Ibaka couldn’t fill the void offensively (half right), and no “third banana” would emerge (happened…or didn’t happen, however you want to say it).

So at a glance, they are in a worse position to advance to the Finals. But somehow, Kevin Durant became good enough that the other stuff doesn’t matter. They’ll still get through the West.

Note this isn’t a vote against the Spurs. They are still great, and no one on their team averaged 30 minutes a game. So they are as healthy as ever. But they don’t have Kevin Durant. So stats be damned, I’m taking the Thunder.

The Finals –

The Durant versus LeBron rematch swings on Russell Westbrook’s ability to outplay Dwyane Wade.

I think LeBron and Durant will play to a virtual tie. Durant will score more points, LeBron will balance it out with more assists. So it comes down to the battle of surgically repaired knees. Who had the better doctor? I’ll go with Westbrook.

Despite the Heat’s best efforts to keep Wade upright by healthy scratching him for a third of the season, I think the grind of the playoffs will wear him down.

Thunder win the rematch in six games.

durant-dunk

So that’s how I see the playoffs shaping up. Please, whatever you do, don’t put money on this prediction.

Think you can do better? What do you think will happen between now and June? And who wins the championship?

Put your money where your mouth is below!

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  • Mr. SD

    Spurs have the best coach in the NBA..Thats all you really need to get past Durant, good coaching and exquisite defense..

    Miami will bust Paul Pierce arse first then handle the Spurs again and win their 3rd chip….THEN my main negro Melo will decide to join my Bulls and dominate the east along with DRose…Our very own version of Durant and Westbrook…

    • http://batman-news.com Joe Sargent

      The Spurs would be favored over OKC I think…but the Thunder match up well. Perkins actually has something to do (guard Duncan), and if Ibaka can produce on offense, I think he’s the difference. Plus, Kawhi can only guard one of KD and Westbrook. I think they’d be too much.

      I’d love to see Melo in Chicago. A Melo/Thibs mashup would be the greatest or worst thing ever. Either way, fun to watch.

  • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com/ Tristan

    Damn Joe you’ve given the Thunder the kiss of death lol. The Wizards are looking like the how the hell you get here team purely off matchup, I’m sorry i don’t think the Bulls are gonna survive with DJ Augustin as the go to scorer but I’m not quite ready to give up on Indiana, if Paul George is who we claim he is, he finds a way to at least get to the ECF.

    On the west, I’m staying Spurs for now, Pop will make Durant and Russell shoot to beat them, last time Harden happily obliged now, its literally hit or miss with them.

    • http://batman-news.com Joe Sargent

      Yeah, I should have signed off with an apology to Thunder fans. Sorry guys!
      About Paul George…I don’t think he’s that guy anymore. I’m now officially on record saying the Pacers will make it to the ECF and won’t make it…so I’m gonna claim I was right either way, lol.
      I’m not betting no KD to miss right now. Especially after that 4-point play. (Which was 10x better with DMX under it btw. Find that Vine if you haven’t seen it)

  • Animate

    Because of NBA 2K14 I’m making myself a Clippers fan by way of Chris Paul. I’d love them to take it but they can be iffy on defense but when they want to they can destroy folks, as was seen in their 40 pt victory last night. OKC will be a big test in the 2nd round if they manage to stay consistent and beat GS.

    I’m still concerned for whomever plays against the Spurs though. They are just too good and too experienced for most teams. I’d pick them over the Thunder in 6 in the West Finals.

    • http://batman-news.com Joe Sargent

      Would love, love, love to see a OKC/Clippers match up. Crazy that wouldn’t even be the WCF. The Eastern Conference should be ashamed, lol.

  • Guest

    For some reason, every time I see the Thunder in the playoffs, I think of the Sacramento Kings back in the day. They were stocked and could never get past the dominance of the Lakers. OKC’s talent is there on both sides of the ball and they have youth on their side. But they just can’t get it done. If it does come down to a Spurs/Thunder WCF, I’m going w/ the Spurs in 7.

  • James

    For some reason, every time I see the Thunder play the Spurs, I think of the Kings/Lakers series back in the day. OKC’s talent is there on both sides of the ball and they have youth on their side. So if it does come down to a Spurs/Thunder WCF, I’m going w/ the Spurs in 7. I don’t see them blowing it like they did against Miami because this is probably the big 3′s last chance at ring #5

    • http://batman-news.com Joe Sargent

      I can’t even lie, I could see it playing out that way. I’d have said the Kings or Suns would definitely win it at some point…then they never did. They have just enough holes (unimaginitive offense, Derek Fisher playing quality minutes, terrible coach) to always leave some doubt.
      I always write the Spurs off, only to be made a fool. This year may be no different.

  • DC

    Good analysis. As a DC resident, glad to see the Wizards make it to the playoffs and after last night game, I am very hopeful. I still got MIA, King Lebron, as I posted last year winning it all! Not sure if anyone else noticed, but D. Wade has been balling, almost like he was saving his energy for the playoffs. No one is touching MIA.

  • Courtney Sanders

    Ratings, ratings, ratings…..Unless human element intervenes OKC will be in the west. Although San antonio is a damn good squad, and Duncan is ageless but the refs will see to it that OKC advances should they meet. As far as the east if anyone is betting vs Miami….stop. Miami is very talented but also have the poster child in LBJ, and unless he’s injured for a lengthy period miami will punch their ticket. I wouldn’t see the pacers going to far simply because they’re slow and Paul George hasn’t quite sold me on being a superstar and a clutch scorer…not yet. All in all ratings=money. No way Miami isn’t coming out the east and I totally see an OKC v Heat rematch

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