The Conference Finals are underway, and while the East has a head start (Bulls lead 1-0), the West gets started tonight in Dallas. The Thunder have been fortunate to start the first two rounds at home, but this series offers a new test of not handing the Thunder home court advantage. It is the next great test to see how OKC is growing up.
Tramel examines the contrasting styles between the Thunder and the Mavericks. It actually underscores something we may have missed - the Thunder have gotten much better in transition as the season has gone on, and we saw the fruits of it against Memphis.
Young breaks down the series here. He rightly points out that the entire series might turn on the bench play, because both OKC and Dallas feature two of the leagues' best.
The great Rob Mahoney, who writes just about everywhere, reveals his true blue colors in his official breakdown of the Western Conference Finals.
SB Nation's Mavs blog takes an early look at what the Thunder will be bringing to Dallas. There will be much more to come from this great Mavs site.
More links after the jump.
There is no substitute for experience, and the Mavericks have it in spades.
Lowe breaks down the series here. The two big match-up debates will be: who guards Kevin Durant, and who wins the guard play.
By way of a Bill Simmons podcast, this story is making its rounds in the last few days. According to Celtics announcer Sean Grande, originally the Celtics wanted James Harden, but then settled for Jeff Green. You saw what Harden just brought to the table against the Grizzlies. Let's all breath a collective sigh of relief.
The Mavs will likely throw a number of different looks at Russell Westbrook, because they know that he is the one guy who is an absolute wild card.
SB Nation's own Tom Ziller examines how valuable Joakim Noah and his offensive rebounding truly was and is in playing the Heat.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers talks about The Trade, and how he thinks it was more of a timing issue than a personnel issue. Gee wiz...you think so, doctor?
The writer here takes a look at what it has meant in recent history to "win" the lottery, and what this win actually does for a franchise.
Where he reflects on the length of the last series.
The NBA landscape might radically change when a new CBA is finally reached, and the biggest names in the league will likely wait for that new world to reveal itself before they make their career-decisions.