The 2012-2013 season in the NBA has been tumultuous and thrilling all year, with the dynastic Lakers, Celtics and Mavericks all falling from grace. It continues to be the Miami Heat who are favored to win it all for a second consecutive year, and it is hard to imagine anyone rising up to beat them in the finals. But who is it that the Heat will be facing from the West? That answer still isn’t clear!
OKC suffered a major blow when Russell Westbrook went down and needed surgery. The team is now unequivocally Kevin Durant’s and will go as far as he can take them. They will get by the opening round against Houston, but that series will not be without baggage (beating James harden feels good, don’t it) and OKC needed to be in top shape as the finals progress.
The veteran Spurs must be licking their chops. They are healthy and they must relish the thought of facing the depleted Thunder. The Spurs with their veteran core, strong bench and superior coaching appear to pose the biggest threat to the Heat. They are about to ruthlessly (yet somehow mercifully also) put an end to the Lakers season as they march on in the playoffs.
The Clippers and Grizzlies has turned into the dog fight this matchup always had the potential of being. It is tied up at 2-2, with the Grizzlies roaring back with two wins in a row to tie the series. The Grizzlies have been a dark horse team all season, with the Rudy Gay trade taking some of the pressure off halfway through the season. The bottom line is they have been better without Gay, and if they get by the Clippers they will be a very real threat to their second round opponent.
Denver and Golden State are in the middle of a terrific series that will hopefully provide experience for the future for both squads. Neither team is strong enough for a finals run this year, but they are future threats.
The Spurs will have to win one on OKC to get to the Finals. If OKC does not advance beyond the 2nd round, then the Spurs will likely face a very hungry Grizzlies team. As talented and deep as the Clippers are, I am still down on Del Negro and feel that the Grizz would be a bigger challenge to the Spurs.
Right now, the favorites are the Spurs, with OKC and the Griz 2nd and 3rd.