The conference finals are doing a swell job of recapping the playoffs for us.
Over in the East, Miami vs. Indiana has provided two tightly contested battles, with each team coming out on top once—reminding us of that scintillating, consistently nail-biting first round.
In the West, things haven't been nearly as entertaining—unless you're a San Antonio Spurs fans. Gregg Popovich is in the process of sweeping Oklahoma City's leg with two wins by a combined 52 points—reminding us of the far less captivating second round.
With a pair of off days as the series head to Miami and Oklahoma City for Games 3 and 4, let's take a look at where we stand.
|East Game No.||Matchup||Winner|
|1||Miami at Indiana||Pacers, 107-96|
|2||Miami at Indiana||Heat, 87-83|
|West Game No.||Matchup||Winner|
|1||Oklahoma City at San Antonio||Spurs,122-105|
|2||Oklahoma City at San Antonio||Spurs, 112-77|
|East Game No.||Matchup||Date||Time (ET)||TV|
|3||Indiana at Miami||Sat, May 24||8:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|4||Indiana at Miami||Mon, May 26||8:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|5||Miami at Indiana||Wed, May 28||8:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|6 (If necessary)||Indiana at Miami||Fri, May 30||8:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|7 (If necessary)||Miami at Indiana||Sun, June 1||8:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|West Game No.||Matchup||Date||Time (ET)||TV|
|3||San Antonio at Oklahoma City||Sun, May 25||8:30 p.m.||TNT|
|4||San Antonio at Oklahoma City||Tue, May 27||9 p.m.||TNT|
|5 (If necessary)||Oklahoma City at San Antonio||Thur, May 29||9 p.m.||TNT|
|6 (If necessary)||San Antonio at Oklahoma City||Sat, May 31||8:30 p.m.||TNT|
|7 (If necessary)||Oklahoma City at San Antonio||Mon, June 2||9 p.m.||TNT|
|San Antonio Spurs||5-4|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||13-2|
Note: Odds as of May 21, 2014 at 11:45 p.m. ET
Note: Odds courtesy of Odds Shark
Indiana Pacers vs. Miami Heat
LeBron James finished with 22 points and a stuffed box score as usual during Game 2's win, but it was Dwyane Wade who was most important.
The veteran shooting guard had eight of Miami's first 10 points, 13 of the team's 41 at halftime and poured in eight straight late in the fourth to seal the victory. He finished with 23 points on 10-of-16 shooting to go with five rebounds and five assists.
Bleacher Report's Ethan J. Skolnick put it simply (although 'Bron eventually narrowed the gap in quarter No. 8):
Dwyane Wade has been the Heat's best player in the first 5-plus quarters of this series, and it hasn't been close.— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) May 21, 2014
So far in the series, it has been classic Wade, who is now averaging 25.0 points (on a scary-efficient 64.7 percent shooting), 3.0 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game. He has looked both aggressive and spry, getting to the hoop and making things easier for everyone around him offensively.
"Wade's a great player," said Lance Stephenson, who had an equally terrific Game 2, via ESPN's Brian Windhorst. "He's making big shots. He's being aggressive. He's making smart plays. I've got to slow him down."
If someone doesn't slow Wade down, it's going to be difficult for Indiana to steal one back on the road.
San Antonio Spurs vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
Well, is it too late to change the MVP to Serge Ibaka?
With the Thunder's rangy, athletic, shot-blocking center sidelined with a calf injury, it has been all Spurs, who lost all four games to OKC during the regular season.
Popovich's squad won 122-105 in Game 1 and followed that up with a 112-77 beating on Wednesday night. Per The Oklahoman's Darnell Mayberry, it has been utter dominance from San Antonio on the interior:
San Antonio has scored 120 points in the paint in the first two games of this series.— Darnell Mayberry (@DarnellMayberry) May 22, 2014
Actually, it has been utter dominance everywhere on the court. San Antonio has cut OKC open with its dribble drives and sharp, surgical, precise ball movement. NBA analyst Doug Eberhardt put it best:
The most impressive San Antonio Spur trait is the collective basketball IQ of the roster. Hard to duplicate, regardless of system.— Doug Eberhardt (@ebehoops) May 22, 2014
The Spurs can get whatever shot they want whenever they want, whether that be a look inside for Tim Duncan or a three-pointer from Danny Green, who has been unconscious.
NBA.com gave a look at his ridiculous shot chart over the past three games:
Green was a seemingly nonchalant 7-of-10 from deep in Game 2, while the Thunder as a team were 2-of-20.
How will this series end?
Yeah. That about sums it up.
The Thunder have failed to find the right adjustments without Ibaka, and with Scott Brooks sitting on the sideline, it's not likely they ever will. As such, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant—who were a dreadful 13-of-40 in Game 2—have to be perfect in just about every way for Oklahoma City to have a chance.
It's hard to imagine Popovich and the Spurs letting that happen four times in the next six games.