The Western Conference Finals are set to tip off Tuesday night between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder and if the Semi's were any indication, we are in for one dozy of a series. It's going to be the classic battle of youth vs. experience as the older Mavericks look to put down the upstart Thunder like they did the Lakers in round 2. The age disparity between these two teams are most evident when you look at the leaders of each team.
For Dallas, they are led by the 32 year old Dirk Nowitzki and the 38 year old Jason Kidd.
Nowitzki has been playing like a man possessed this postseason, averaging 26 points and 8 boards this postseason. His hunger for a ring is obvious and that drive has spread throughout the Dallas locker-room.
Kidd, on the other hand, is in the twilight of his career. Once considered the greatest point guard in the game, age has diminished his skills to a degree but don't let the years fool you completely, he still is a force. His legs aren't what they used to be so he has mainly been relegated to a spot up shooter but he still retains excellent court vision and can be clutch in key situations.
Oklahoma City features two all-star talents that are on the rise in both skill and experience. Kevin Durant, 22, is the best player on this team and is arguably one of the top 5 players in the league. He is a two-time scoring champ who knows how to put up the points fast and efficient. The only knock on him is that he isn't quite as vocal as he should be and sometimes gets forgotten within the offense.
The other star for the Thunder, Russell Westbrook (22 also), is perhaps one of the most talented and frustrating players in the league. He is a top tier point guard who occasionally regresses into a shoot first player. He is at his best when he has that point guard, distribution mentality. When Westbrook is in that mode, he's as good as any point in the game. When he isn't in it, the Thunder struggle…big time.
This series has all the makings of an instant classic that will go all 7 game. Legacies are made in these type of games and whoever has the biggest heart will get the job done.
When: Game 1 is 9pm on ESPN Tuesday night, at Dallas
Prediction: Dallas wins in 7