It’s clear that the San Antonio Spurs and the Oklahoma City Thunder are the two best teams in the Western Conference. It was true during a truncated regular season schedule when both teams flip-flopped the top position in the standings. It’s true now as they stand as the final two teams left after two rounds of play in the 2012 NBA Playoffs. But when considering the two teams against the other, there’s no doubt who most people believe is the best overall team.
There’s not a single person among the several NBA analysts at Sheridan Hoops who believes the Thunder will win this series against the Spurs. Perhaps it’s a sign that the veteran team is favored in the playoffs. Perhaps it’s because the Spurs ultimately earned the No. 1 seed. Either way, eight out of eight sportswriters have the Spurs winning, including one who thinks they will sweep the Thunder and go to the NBA Finals.
John Hollinger of ESPN believes the same, predicting the Spurs to win in five games:
That’s why I keep saying nobody is beating this San Antonio team; it’s a tribute to the Thunder’s talent that they’ll be able to make this series somewhat competitive. But it will also show the young Thunder how much further they have to go to match the franchise they’ve worked so hard to emulate. San Antonio will finally lose a game, but I doubt it will lose more than once.
The Thunder are young and upstart, but they can also put this as a chip on their shoulder if they want — knowing that very few people on the national scene expect them to defeat the highly favored Spurs.