Only a few brave NBA analysts have come out to not only predict the Lakers to beat the Thunder to advance to the western conference finals but to beat them in six games.
ESPN's Israel Gutierrez and Yahoo! Sports Mark Hawkins have made such bold predictions.
While these two analysts bet on the Lakers to advance past the semis, others have taken the safe route in predicting favored OKC to Thunder over the underdog Lakers. Its strange to even say that the Lakers are underdogs.
Ben Oliver from CBSSports.com is predicting OKC to win in six
The Guardian Sports Blog is picking OKC in seven
Brian Kamenetzky from ESPN Land O' Lakers is picking the Thunder in six
SportsNation PollCenter (128,000 total votes as of 5/14/2012 6:28PM PST) has OKC winning 71% to 29%
Shaquille O'Neal even favors OKC to win over his former team
Charley Rosen from NBA.com favors OKC to beat L.A.
L.A. Times sports writers Mark Medina, Mike Bresnahan, and Ben Bolch all predict that OKC will take the Lakers
Kevin Ding from O.C. Register.com has predicted the Thunder to pass the Lakers in six
Peter Emerick from BleacherReport.com has OKC winning
Its easy to say at least for myself and I'm sure I speak on behalf of every Laker fan out there that the Lakers are winning the western conference semifinals. I personally have the Lakers winning in seven.
I can only think of one line that will sum up the series quite perfectly. It's a quote from The Avengers movie with a small modification:
Thunder: "We have an army"
Lakers: "We have a Metta [Hulk]"
The difference maker in game seven of the first round was Metta World Peace. His tenacious defense was missed throughout the series and it certainly will be welcomed back in this one. Look for him to put some lock down D on KD.
Some are saying that Denver has done OKC a big favor by exhausting the Lakers in a seven-game series but others think that the Lakers are carrying in fresh momentum versus a little too well rested OKC team.
Game 1 is tonight at OKC.
Time: 6:30PM PST
Top image credit: Getty Images