2010/11 NBA Playoffs: Western Conference Finals

Posted by C.L. Anthony on Monday, May 16, 2011 with No comments
As the clock dwindled down Sunday afternoon in Oklahoma City, the crowd chanted "We want Dallas, We want Dallas!"  Ladies and gentlemen your Western Conference Finals, The OKC Thunder will face the Dallas Mavericks.  Dirk has been playing magnificent basketball this postseason but the Mavs as a whole have a different look to them.  After dispatching a tough Blazers team, the Mavs powered into the second and dethroned the NBA Champion Lakers in shocking manner.  They've seemed to have shed the soft label throughout these playoffs and who knows, that could have been their goal along with of course winning the NBA title.  The OKC Thunder powered through the first round by defeating a meshing Denver Nuggets team and then allowed the Memphis Grizzlies to push them to a game 7 this past Sunday.  It was a typical game game 7 with both teams playing tight for the majority of the game which caused many missed shots but as the competition grew closer, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook lifted the Thunder on the their back by KD scoring 39 and Westbrook added a triple double.  The Thunder's two superstars were just too much for the Grizzlies to handle in the series.

Dallas won the season series 2 games to 1 with both teams winning on the others home court.  All three games took place before the February trade deadline and both teams look slightly different at this time with Caron Butler lost for the season with the Mavs and the addition of Kendrick Perkins for the Thunder.  The Perkins addition will be key in this series because Perkins will be able to neutralize the effectiveness of Tyson Chandler and keep him from roaming free in the paint.  Dirk will be Dirk and will play amazing as always but the level of his amazing play will be test by "Air Congo" Serge Ibaka, who's quickness and height on defense may force Dirk away from his comfort spots on the court.

The most intriguing match up of the series will be Jason Kidd vs Russell Westbrook, the past vs the future.  Russell Westbrook has the type of game that will allow him to become Jason Kidd 2.0 and his time with Team USA "The B Team" in the off season allowed his game to grow to the point where it is now.  As like Kidd in his prime, Westbrook gives the Thunder a distinct advantage due to his ability to possibly earn a triple double on any given night.  Kidd will have the size advantage but Westbrook will have the speed advantage and watching those two battle for rebounds will be a thing a beauty considering they'e both great rebounding guards.  Kidd staring into the eyes of Westbrook during his defensive assignments will be like looking to the mirror at a reflection of himself but also like staring into a time machine marveling at what he used to be.

With both teams playing good defense, I don't expect to see a lot of points being scored but I also wouldn't be surprised if both teams reverted to previous incarnations of themselves and abandon their good defensive philosophies for a game or two.  Dirk and Kevin Durant will cancel one another out and Westbrook may usher Kidd into retirement.  The theme of this season's playoffs have been that of a youth movement and that movement will continue as the Thunder advance to the NBA, their first as the Thunder and not since 1996 as the Seattle Supersonics; It is thy will, their destiny!