The San Antonio Spurs came within seconds of winning the 2013 NBA Championship, but a last-second three pointer from Ray Allen in Game 6 propelled the Miami Heat to another title. Instead of fading away with an aging core, the team rebounded nicely with the best record in the Western Conference and yet another berth in the Western Conference Finals. They will face the Oklahoma City Thunder, with the winner likely to get a shot at the Heat.
San Antonio looked shaky at times against Dallas, but they were able to prevail in seven games. Even though Dallas entered the playoffs as the #8 seed, they were one of the best teams ever to receive that seeding. They came close to winning 50 games in the regular season, so it is easy to see why the matchup was so close.
Dallas had veterans to keep them close to San Antonio, but unfortunately Portland did not have the same. The Spurs quickly took control of the series against the young, exciting team, winning in five games. They were hardly challenged, and the only mild concern is the fact that Tony Parker had a minor hamstring issue. He is cleared to play in the Western Conference Finals, so everything appears to be fine there.
Oklahoma City dominated the regular season matchups against San Antonio, but the loss of Serge Ibaka is sure to hurt OKC. His athletic presence presented problems for the veteran Spurs front court. Without Ibaka, the Thunder will need other-worldly performances from fantasy basketball superstars Kevin Durant and Russ Westbrook to even stay competitive with the ultra-cohesive Spurs.
The Thunder will be the casual fan favorite, but the Spurs will have home court advantage and more playoff experience. It should be a close one, but do not be surprised if the Spurs are right back into the NBA Finals.
Written by Scott Kim
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