Sports

2012 NBA Playoffs Conference Finals Preview: Oklahoma City Thunder

| by The No Look Pass

Beat L.A. Lakers in the conference semifinals, 4-1.
Beat Denver in the first round, 4-3.
Seed: #2 (West)
Record: 47-19
Stat Leaders: Kevin Durant (28.0 PPG, 8.0 RPG), Russell Westbrook (5.5 APG, 1.7 SPG), Serge Ibaka (3.7 BPG).
Opponent: #1 San Antonio Spurs, 50-16
Record Against Them This Season: 1-2
Writer: Royce Young (@DailyThunder)
Web Site: Daily Thunder

For the second year in a row, the Oklahoma City Thunder are in the Western Conference Finals. They beat the two teams that have eliminated them in the last two years, the Mavericks and the Lakers, on their way to their Final Four return. They meet the San Antonio Spurs in the WCF.

Game 1 was a loss for the Thunder. After the game, I was finally able to get a hold of Royce from Daily Thunder about how OKC's playoff run has gone so far. Is he confident enough that OKC can go all the way?

If the Thunder don't beat the Spurs in this series, will the season be considered a failure... or is it still a success?

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Failure is a really strong word, but I think it has to be. This team has taken the step to where a good season and a deep playoff run isn't good enough anymore. It's about The Finals and going hard after that ring. Obviously, they're still young and growing and titles are hard to win, but it's time.

What was the main culprit of what went wrong in the fourth quarter of Game 1?

Defense. Giving up 39 points on 12-16 shooting is pathetic. The Thunder couldn't score the ball, but they also couldn't stop the Spurs. That's a bad recipe. OKC didn't execute offensively and were out of control at the basket, but also couldn't secure enough stops to give itself a chance.

Who do you think needs to step up the most in the next game?

They looked extremely well-prepared in Game 1, but they need Russell Westbrook. They need him to be in attack mode, to be the player that fuels OKC's offense. Clearly Durant is wonderful, but the Thunder get real scary when Westbrook is leading the charge.

We know the Thunder lost Game 1 so, on a scale of 1-10, how confident are you about OKC winning the series? After all, OKC wins Game 2, it's tied at 1-1 and the Thunder would have home court.

I would say I'm a 6. I thought they'd win before the series, but dropping Game 1 puts their backs to the wall a bit. They need a split desperately and now it's an uphill battle to get it. Winning Game 1 obviously would've been terrific, but there are more games to be played.

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