Best in the West: Thunder and Mavs Battle for LegitimacyPosted on by Robert Seitzinger (rseitzinger)
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Zach Randolph played his heart out, but it didn't matter. Because aside from Derrick Rose, there is no 22-year-old NBA player who wants to win more than Kevin Durant.
Durant shut down the Cinderella Story that was the Memphis Grizzlies and Randolph during this postseason, and now the young Thunder face the older, wiser Dallas Mavericks and the surging Dirk Nowitzki, who is playing as though his life depends on it--he's very aware that this may be his last opportunity to win a championship.
It has been a ridiculous playoff year of swings, upsets, and teams digging deep to earn their bragging rights. As it stands, the Western Conference Finals look to be each of those, as the younger Thunder seek legitimacy and the aging Mavericks seek to legitimize as a championship team and earn their first Larry O'Brien trophy in the Mark Cuban era.
The Mavs have been off for nine days, as they swept the Los Angeles Lakers while the Thunder took their series to seven games. The time off has undoubtedly been spent analyzing game tapes, running drills specific to the whizbang speed of Durant and Russell Westbrook's offense, and listening to coach Rick Carlisle tell his Mavs that victory will be earned by keeping cool and avoiding moments like this:
So, how 'bout it? Do the Thunder have what it takes to upset Dallas? Or is this the year that Dirk finally earns a ring?
Who will advance to the NBA Finals?
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