NBA

NBA Playoffs: The Best of the West


Courtesy of Jim Feist


Start your engines! The NBA playoffs have started, time for endless full court action every night as the league crowns another champion. Let's take a look at the best of the West, the conference that has won nine of the last 14 NBA titles.

Oklahoma City: The team no one wants to play! The Thunder gave us a hint of their young talent two years ago, putting it all together in 2012 - at least until they imploded in the NBA Finals against the veteran Heat. It was a bitter pill, favored to win while taking a 1-0 lead before losing 4 straight. They have a dynamite offense, No. 5, 2, 1 and 5 in the NBA in points scored the last four seasons, led by the 25-year old duo of Kevin Durant (32 ppg, 7.5 rpg) and Russell Westbrook (21.7 ppg).

6-10 Serge Ibaka (15 ppg, 8.6 rpg) has emerged from role play to star with over 2.5 blocks per contest. They aren't all offense, either, 11th in the league in points allowed and third in field goal shooting defense (tops in the West) allowing .435% shooting.

They have it all, it seems - except experience. Three years ago after getting to the Western Conference Finals, the Thunder blew Game 4 at home to Dallas, 112-105 in OT, blowing a 15-point lead with five minutes to play in regulation. Dallas closed it out the next game. The 2012 NBA Finals was a failure and injuries derailed them last year.

At what point does all this painful postseason experience bear fruit?

Spurs: A juggernaut down the stretch with a 19-game win streak that wrapped up everything in the West. Last year's Western Conference champs have not slipped despite injuries and they are healthy at the right time. Long known for defense under Gregg Popovich, the Spurs used an awesome array of depth to blitz opponents, ranking 7th in the NBA in scoring, tops in assists and 5th in points allowed.

San Antonio still has the Big Three of 37-year old Tim Duncan (15 ppg, 9.8 rpg), 36-year old Manu Ginobili (12 ppg) and 31-year old Tony Parker (16.8 ppg). Popovich has done a great job in limiting the minutes of the Big 3. The Spurs have won 50 or more games in an astonishing 15 straight seasons, breaking the longest streak in league history behind the Lakers, who won 50 12 times in a row from 1979 to 1991.

The Spurs rely heavily on their bench, which leads the league in scoring for the fourth straight season, with Danny Green, Patty Mills and role players in 7-foot Matt Bonner, 6-11 Tiago Splitter, Kawhi Leonard and Boris Diaw.

Coach Gregg Popovich and Duncan have 4 NBA title rings and they know defense is essential in the postseason. After ranking 17th in points allowed and 21st in field goal shooting percentage defense two years ago, the Spurs have improved to 9th and 8th in field goal defense the last two seasons. The Spurs are 27-11 ATS on the road.

LA Clippers: The new Beasts of the West? Adding guard Chris Paul (19 ppg) with Blake Griffin (24 ppg, 9.6 rpg) is certainly a nice one-two punch to upgrade any franchise, especially on offense. This team is tops in scoring. But the depth and talent is exceptional for first-year Coach Doc Rivers, who has really helped to upgrade the defense, 14th in points scored, 5th in field goal defense, tops against the three-pointer.

Jamal Crawford, Darren Collison and Matt Barnes are fine role players and Rivers got DeAndre Jordan to focus on defense and he's responded with 13.8 boards and 2.46 blocks per game. They will be fun to watch in the playoffs but here's one warning: The Clippers rank 26th in free throw shooting. Well that hurt in close playoff games?

Rockets: Houston felt it needing one missing piece and added Dwight Howard last offseason. So far, so good. Howard (18.5 ppg, 12 rpg) handles the low post and has improved the defense, ranking 7th in field goal shooting defense.

That clears the way for James Harden (25 ppg), Chandler Parsons and Jeremy Lin to strut their stuff on offense, second in the NBA in points scored and on a 19-7 run over the total. Howard and point guard Pat Beverely rested down the stretch to get healthy for the postseason. It's a tough all around team but, like the Clippers they can't shoot free throws, ranked 26th at the charity stripe. In Game 7 do you want Howard and his 55% free throw shooting at the line down by one?

For more tips and sports betting information, check out Jim Feist TV


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Schedule

Wednesday, April 23Full Scoreboard
Charlotte97Final | Box
Miami «101
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game Two. Miami leads series, 2-0.
Dallas «113Final | Box
San Antonio92
Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game Two. Series tied, 1-1.
Portland «112Final | Box
Houston105
Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game Two. Portland leads series, 2-0.
Full Scoreboard

Standings

2013 - 2014 Eastern Conference Standings
 
Atlantic W L PCT GB Home Away Conf Streak
y-Toronto 48 34 .585 --- 26-15 22-19 32-20 L 1
x-Brooklyn 44 38 .537 4 28-13 16-25 26-26 L 2
New York 37 45 .451 11 19-22 18-23 26-26 W 4
Boston 25 57 .305 23 16-25 9-32 21-31 L 2
Philadelphia 19 63 .232 29 10-31 9-32 14-38 W 2
 
Central W L PCT GB Home Away Conf Streak
y-Indiana 56 26 .683 --- 35-6 21-20 38-14 W 2
x-Chicago 48 34 .585 8 27-14 21-20 35-17 L 1
Cleveland 33 49 .402 23 19-22 14-27 21-31 W 1
Detroit 29 53 .354 27 17-24 12-29 23-29 L 4
Milwaukee 15 67 .183 41 10-31 5-36 12-40 L 3
 
Southeast W L PCT GB Home Away Conf Streak
y-Miami 54 28 .659 --- 32-9 22-19 34-18 L 3
x-Washington 44 38 .537 10 22-19 22-19 33-19 W 4
x-Charlotte 43 39 .524 11 25-16 18-23 30-22 W 3
x-Atlanta 38 44 .463 16 24-17 14-27 28-24 W 1
Orlando 23 59 .280 31 19-22 4-37 17-35 L 4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
2013 - 2014 Western Conference Standings
 
Northwest W L PCT GB Home Away Conf Streak
y-Oklahoma City 59 23 .720 --- 34-7 25-16 36-16 W 1
x-Portland 54 28 .659 5 31-10 23-18 31-21 W 5
Minnesota 40 42 .488 19 24-17 16-25 23-29 L 3
Denver 36 46 .439 23 22-19 14-27 20-32 L 2
Utah 25 57 .305 34 16-25 9-32 13-39 W 1
 
Pacific W L PCT GB Home Away Conf Streak
y-LA Clippers 57 25 .695 --- 34-7 23-18 36-16 L 1
x-Golden State 51 31 .622 6 27-14 24-17 31-21 W 2
Phoenix 48 34 .585 9 26-15 22-19 28-24 W 1
Sacramento 28 54 .341 29 17-24 11-30 15-37 L 1
LA Lakers 27 55 .329 30 14-27 13-28 15-37 W 2
 
Southwest W L PCT GB Home Away Conf Streak
y-San Antonio 62 20 .756 --- 32-9 30-11 38-14 L 2
x-Houston 54 28 .659 8 33-8 21-20 31-21 L 1
x-Memphis 50 32 .610 12 27-14 23-18 29-23 W 5
x-Dallas 49 33 .598 13 26-15 23-18 29-23 L 1
New Orleans 34 48 .415 28 22-19 12-29 15-37 W 2
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
  • PGA: Zurich Classic of New Orleans

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    Tonight at 7:05 on 620am

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    Saturday at 1:05 pm on 99.9 The Fan

Scoreboard
Local
Final
CHR 9
DUR 1
 
Final
MIA 101
CHA 97
7:05pm Tonight
CHR
DUR
 
Final
ATL 3
MIA 1
Final
CHC 5
ARI 7
Final
COL 10
SFG 12
Final
OAK 0
TEX 3
Final
SEA 5
HOU 3
Final
PIT 2
CIN 5
Final
CLE 5
KAN 3
Final
WAS 5
ANA 4
Final
TOR 8
BAL 10
Final
DET 4
CWS 6
Final
TAM 4
MIN 6
Final
BOS 5
NYY 1
Final
NYM 3
STL 2
Final
MIL 5
SDP 2
Final
LOS 5
PHI 2
12:05pm Today
CLE
KAN
 
12:35pm Today
PIT
CIN
 
1:08pm Today
DET
CWS
 
1:10pm Today
TAM
MIN
 
1:10pm Today
NYM
STL
 
2:20pm Today
CHC
ARI
 
7:05pm Tonight
WAS
SDP
 
7:07pm Tonight
TOR
BAL
 
7:10pm Tonight
BOS
NYY
 
8:10pm Tonight
HOU
OAK
 
10:10pm Tonight
LOS
PHI
 
Final
MIA 101
CHA 97
Final
SAN 92
DAL 113
Final
HOU 105
POR 112
7:00pm Tonight
ATL
IND
8:00pm Tonight
MEM
OKC
10:30pm Tonight
GSW
LAC
Final
CLB 4
PIT 3
Final
DAL 4
ANA 2
Final
CHI 4
STL 3
8:00pm Tonight
DET
BOS
9:30pm Tonight
MIN
COL
10:30pm Tonight
LOS
SJS
Final
CHR 9
DUR 1
 
7:05pm Tonight
CHR
DUR