Two of the 1st round series in the Western Conference ended up going 7 games. The Western Conference has proven to be much more exciting than the Eastern Conference up to this point. With the 2nd round in the West about to start tonight with game 1 of the Lakers vs. Oklahoma City we’re going to preview both semi-final series and provide you with our predictions.
2012 NBA Playoffs 1st Round Western Conference Recap
My Western Conference series predictions went 4-0 in the 1st round. San Antonio and Oklahoma City were both able to easily win their series in the 1st round, but the Lakers and Clippers both needed 7 games. The Clippers battled injuries and managed to beat the Grizzlies in game 7 in Memphis while the Lakers took care of business in game 7 at home over the Nuggets.
Los Angeles Lakers shocked me a bit by needing 7 games to eliminate the Nuggets. Gasol had a poor series overall, but he began to turn his performance around with a great game 7. Clippers are banged up and tired after a long series, but Paul showed that he wants to win the NBA Championship this year after playing through injuries to win the series for his team.
2012 NBA Playoffs 2nd Round Western Conference Preview
• Oklahoma City Thunder -450 vs. Los Angeles Lakers +385 (Series Price)
Oklahoma City swept the Mavericks in the 1st round and has been resting for awhile now. LA Lakers had trouble beating Denver in their 1st round series and haven’t had any rest at all. OKC won the season series between these two teams (2-1) although the Lakers did just beat the Thunder at the end of April.
This series is going to be a battle. These two teams dislike each other, as it’s basically the veterans (Lakers) vs. the youth (OKC). I think the youth will prevail in this series, but at -450 I’m not going to be betting the series. OKC averages 102.9 PPG while LA only averages 97.2 PPG on offence. Lakers have the edge in the paint and will need Gasol/Bynum to both play great in this series.
Durant, Westbrook and Harden will need to lead the Thunder past the Lakers. It’ll be interesting to see if Fisher can play a role in helping his new team (OKC) beat his former team (LA). While OKC should be able to score without much of a problem they may struggle on the defensive side of the ball if they can’t control the Lakers big men down low in the paint.
LA struggled way too much in the series against Denver for me to back them as dogs. Bryant was dealing with an illness near the end of the series, but even if he gets better the big men were anything but consistent in the 1st round. It will take a big change in the Lakers 1st round performance if they expect to keep this series close with OKC.
• San Antonio Spurs -2072 vs. Los Angeles Clippers +1272 (Series Price)
San Antonio made quick work of the Utah Jazz in the 1st round, as the Spurs won the series 4-0. San Antonio may be a team full of veterans, but they should be rested for this series while the Clippers are dealing with nagging injuries. There is no way I can bet on the Spurs to win the series at these insane odds, but I definitely think the Spurs pull this series out.
During the regular season these two teams played each other 3 times and the Spurs won the series 2-1. Each team easily won 1 game during the season series and the Spurs won the 2nd match-up in OT. I think this series will be closer than the oddsmakers think and if you want to have the chance to hedge later in the series you could bet on the Clippers at +1272.
If the Clippers steal 1 game on the road in the 1st two you can hedge out of the bet at that point for a profit. Clippers won their only meeting with the Spurs on the road, so LA can definitely beat San Antonio when playing on the Spurs court. Griffin has an injury to his knee right now and if he isn’t 100% the Clippers are going to struggle in this series.
When Griffin wasn’t on the floor Paul had to control the entire game and take most of the shots. Not many other players on the Clippers were nailing shots consistently in the 1st round and the lack of depth will hurt against a team like the Spurs. The Clippers have a slight edge on defence, but the Spurs have a bigger edge on offence. Look for the Spurs to win the series in 6-7 games.
2012 NBA Playoffs 2nd Round Western Conference Predictions
• Oklahoma City Thunder to win the series 4-2
• San Antonio Spurs to win the series 4-2