by Micah Hart
Each day until the end of the NBA Finals, we’ll be taking a look at the conventional wisdom of the moment — which team is currently the favorite to win it all, and which team should be ashamed to still be putting on their jerseys.
Here’s how it looks for the weekend of May 14-15.
Start planning the parade:
You might think a long layoff between games might make the Mavericks rusty, but seeing as the core of their team is almost exclusively on the wrong side of 30, I’d say it plays right into their hands.
Whichever team wins Sunday’s Game 7 between Memphis and Oklahoma City is going to be drained come the start of the Western Conference finals on Tuesday, all the more so if it’s the Grizzlies, who will presumably stay on the road and head straight for Dallas.
Meanwhile Dallas gets to rest up, particularly helpful for a guy like Peja Stojakovic, who has been huge off the bench this postseason for the Mavs but generally speaking is as brittle as uncooked pasta.
Give it up already:
A friend of mine sent me an amazing statistic yesterday. The combined average age of OKC’s top four players in terms of minutes played is 21.5 years old. The combined age of the University of Pittsburgh’s top four this season was 21.75 years.
This is a young, young Thunder squad, and under the harsh lights and scrutiny of a Game 7 situation, that inexperience will lead to the team’s unraveling. That, and their continuing inability to hold double-digit leads.
The Grizzlies have shown themselves to be fighters in this postseason, and though Oklahoma City slowed Zach Randolph in several games in this series, he was back in full beast mode in Game 6 (30 points, 13 rebounds) and will keep it going on Sunday.
There is a bright future on the horizon for the Thunder, but it’s at least another year away.