2012 NBA Playoffs: No One Can Beat Durant, Westbrook, and Rest of Thunder

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2012 NBA Playoffs: No One Can Beat Durant, Westbrook, and Rest of Thunder
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When Akron's son uttered those infamous words that ultimately took his talents to South Beach, I thought the Miami Heat would win multiple championships. I thought the landscape of NBA free agency was changing and we were going to begin to see super teams form. 

It may be happening, with some more big-name talents coming to the end of their respective contracts this year. 

The Oklahoma City Thunder have a super team, but they did it the right way. The old school way. Through the NBA draft. 

Kevin Durant was taken second overall as an afterthought after the Greg Oden sweepstakes went to the Portland Trailblazers. In one of the all-time draft-day blunders, Portland will regret that decision for decades.

Oden was a huge bust, and Durant is one of the most gifted scorers the NBA has ever seen. He is a 6'10" shooting guard. Allen Iverson playing in Kevin Garnett's body. If he has it going, he is impossible to stop.

The Thunder have a compliment of stars around Durant, in point guard Russell Westbrook and guard James Harden.

Westbrook is probably the most intimidating athletic specimen in the entire league, with my apologies to LeBron, Howard, and Rose. He is a shoot-first point guard, which usually doesn't work, but with the Thunder's cast, it works brilliantly.

Harden, while an incredibly dangerous scorer, has no problem moving into a distributor role when Westbrook is scoring. That said, he can get you 40 points on any given night. Combine that with the fact that Durant and Westbrook can each go off for 50 points, and this team is pretty intimidating.

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The bench and role players are just as important for the Thunder. Veterans Kendrick Perkins and Derek Fisher are providing the wisdom and leadership of NBA champions, guiding the Thunder's young trio through the playoffs.

Perkins also brings some attitude to the team. Westbrook has some fire in his belly, but Durant and Harden, while dangerous scorers, are not very verbal. Perkins acts as the instigator, the guy who gets the rest of the team fired up.

Serge Ibaka is holding his own private block party for everyone else in the playoffs. He is averaging 4.5 blocks per game in the two games against the Lakers. Having a guy like Ibaka allows your other defenders some leeway to play aggressively because they know they will have weak-side help when he's on the floor.

After routing the Lakers in Game 1, they rallied to come back and win Game 2 behind Kevin Durant's heroics, and no surprise, Ibaka's blocks. 

The Lakers are getting old, and no team has made that point more glaring than the Thunder. In Game 1, the Thunder were allowed to get into the fast break and run most of the game. The Lakers just could not keep up. In Game 2, Los Angeles forced the Thunder into more of a half-court game. It worked better, but the talents offensively were too much for LA.

Metta World Peace is great at defending Durant's jumpers, but he can not even close to keep up with him off the dribble. All Durant needs to do is take two quick steps and he is by World Peace and at the rim.

No one on the Lakers can defend Westbrook, and Harden is another matchup nightmare. 

I have not seen a team this unselfish and talented at the same time in a while. The way they're going right now, I would be surprised if the Lakers can win two games. 

No team left standing in the East can handle the Thunder either. I don't see a way they don't get their first NBA championship this year. The San Antonio Spurs will be a challenge, but they are old like the Lakers and in a seven-game series, there's no way they will be able to keep up.

The Thunder have built their franchise from the ground up, and I expect them to win the first of several NBA titles this year.

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