2012 NBA Western Conference Finals Series Odds and Predictions – Oklahoma City Thunder vs San Antonio Spurs Pick and Series Price: As good as the two teams have looked in the postseason, the Western Conference Finals matchup between the second-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder and top-seeded San Antonio Spurs could end up being the de facto championship series. The Spurs have yet to lose a game in the playoffs as they try to win yet another title in the Tim Duncan era. With their eyes on the franchise’s first championship since moving to Oklahoma City, Kevin Durant and company have cruised past the last two NBA champions, losing just a single game. It is the series that fans have been waiting for, and the showdown between the veteran, experienced San Antonio bunch and the young, explosive Thunder squad has all the makings of an instant classic.
Despite the stark contrast in the makeup of their core players, the two teams are actually very similar. Yes, San Antonio likes to use the pick and roll while Oklahoma City likes to drive and kick, but both sides score in bunches. The Spurs and Thunder ranked second and third, respectively, in points per game during the regular season and first and third in field goal percentage. The Spurs also ranked first in the NBA in 3-point percentage this season and second in 3-pointers made per game, while the Thunder ranked first in both free throw percentage and free throws made per game. In other words, these are two well-oiled offensive systems going head to head.
During the regular season, San Antonio took two of the three meetings. In both of the Spurs’ victories, they scored well over 100 points, including a 114-105 win in Oklahoma City in March. It is also worth noting that the Spurs won the season series despite guard Manu Ginobili missing all three games. At full strength, San Antonio should be even better equipped to handle the Thunder. However, translating regular season results to the playoffs is never an exact science. Not to mention the fact that the Thunder’s ability to consistently get to the foul line should be more reliable in a best-of-seven format than the Spur’s 3-point shooting touch.
One of the most important matchups of the series will be between Spurs’ point guard Tony Parker and Oklahoma City point guard Russell Westbrook. From Westbrook’s blazing speed and scoring ability to Parker’s ability to score in the paint and control the tempo, both players are at the heart of what their teams do offensively. Based on the regular season meetings, Parker may be the more critical player in the matchup. San Antonio’s lone loss to the Thunder came when Parker scored in single digits, and he scored 25 and 42 in the Spurs’ two wins. Meanwhile, Westbrook scored just 13 points in Oklahoma City’s one victory.
Of course, the Thunder doesn’t need Westbrook to lead the team in scoring in order to win thanks to three-time defending scoring champ Kevin Durant. The dynamic offensive weapon is the top individual player in the series, and he has been building an impressive resume of clutch shots and key baskets throughout the postseason. San Antonio forward Kawhi Leonard will likely draw the unenviable task of defending Durant, and while the rookie held him to 25 points or less in all three regular season games, stopping the NBA’s best scorer with a chance to play for a title hanging in the balance could be a much tougher task.
While depth isn’t going to be an issue for either team, the matchup between the two best sixth men in the league could be a deciding factor in the series. Oklahoma City’s James Harden plays the same role that Ginobili does for San Antonio, coming off the bench to provide energy and scoring for the second unit. While Harden won the Sixth Man of the Year Award this season, Ginobili has struggled a bit to find a rhythm while dealing with nagging injuries. Ginobili is capable of catching fire on any given night, but Harden’s proven production favors the Thunder.
The X-factor in the series could be Duncan. The veteran has turned it on in the playoffs, averaging 17.6 points, 9.0 rebounds and 1.9 blocks. If he can continue to provide that type of offensive punch in the paint against Thunder big men Serge Ibaka and Hendrick Perkins, the Spurs’ perimeter options should continue to get open looks. The question is whether or not the veteran Duncan can keep up his current pace as the playoffs progress, especially against the athletic, up-tempo Thunder.
A strong argument can be made for both sides, but San Antonio’s experience and balance on offense could be the deciding factors. Granted, the Thunder are in the conference finals for the second year in a row, but this Spurs’ team has a core of veterans that has won multiple titles together, along with a handful of young players to provide energy. The explosive scoring trio of Durant, Westbrook and Harden certainly gives Oklahoma City enough firepower to give San Antonio all it can handle, but in the final minutes of close games on such a big stage, there simply isn’t a substitute for championship experience. The Thunder are so close to kicking down the door to a title, but the Spurs aren’t going to let their window of opportunity slam shut just yet.
Prediction: San Antonio Spurs Win in 7 Games
Oklahoma City Thunder vs San Antonio Spurs Series Price
Oklahoma City Thunder +160
San Antonio Spurs -180
|2 EASY STEPS to BET on 2012 NBA Playoff Odds Daily!
STEP 1: CLICK HERE to OPEN SBG Global Account
STEP 2: Deposit with Credit Card or Deposit by Check and get upto 265% in BONUS money FREE added to your SBG Player Account Funds.