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2014 NBA Betting – Ranking The Three Best Teams In The Western Conference

Posted by Craig Parsons on 9/19/2014 8:45:06 PM

The Western Conference is a very tough and deep conference, but when you get down to the business of separating the top three from the rest, the task shouldn’t be that difficult.

1 – San Antonio Spurs

When the San Antonio Spurs lost to the Miami Heat in the 2013 NBA Finals, it seemed that their window for a championship had closed. However, the old Spurs, given some youth in just the right places, came back better than ever and won the NBA title convincingly, blowing out the Heat in each of the last three games of the series. San Antonio also won the NBA title by going through the Oklahoma City Thunder and, more specifically, winning the clinching game on the road without star point guard Tony Parker in the second half or overtime. The Spurs have really struggled in Oklahoma City over the years, so they weren’t expected to win Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals to begin with. When Parker got injured and was ruled out for the remainder of the game at halftime, the Spurs’ odds of winning seemed to be very remote. Yet, with Manu Ginobili making huge plays and Kawhi Leonard playing great defense, the Spurs were able to stay close the whole way. The player who led them to victory in that game? Tim Duncan, still consistent and steady after all these years in the league. The Spurs found even more stability, even more of the ingredients that have made them such a constant in the NBA over time. The Spurs’ stars aren’t going to play forever, but is this team really going to slip in the coming season? San Antonio is so much in command of what it does and how it plays. This is the team to beat in the West and in the NBA at large.

2 – Oklahoma City Thunder

When the Thunder lost to the Spurs, what became apparent was their lack of a deep bench. The Thunder had the frontline stars, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. They didn’t get enough help from the supporting cast, and that’s a big reason why the Thunder can’t be number one on this list. It’s true that if Serge Ibaka had been healthy for the whole series, particularly the first two games of the series in San Antonio, Oklahoma City could have won the series in six games. However, the Thunder had no business losing to the Spurs in Game 6, when Parker was out. The Spurs really did change the nature of their matchup with the Thunder, sending a message for the coming season. Oklahoma City will need home-court advantage to beat the Spurs if the two teams meet again in the playoffs, but will that happen?

3 – Los Angeles Clippers

For all the talents of Chris Paul, the fact of the matter is that the point guard cracked in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals against Oklahoma City last spring. Paul is going to use that memory as motivation this season, as the Clippers, no longer owned by Donald Sterling, might be able to make a fresh start. Los Angeles doesn’t have the reputation of the Spurs or the perimeter shooting of the Thunder, so it has to be number three on the list. However, the Clippers are ahead of everyone else. Portland is going to find it hard to continue to support LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard. Houston will fall a few notches after failing to get Chris Bosh in free agency and also losing Chandler Parsons. The Clippers and the Dallas Mavericks will fight for third place, and the Clippers will probably benefit a little because they will be refreshed by their improved ownership situation, plus the fact that coach Doc Rivers now has a much better feel for what he’s working with.



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