OKC Thunder: Oklahoma writers discuss upcoming NBA playoffs

Oklahoman Published: April 17, 2014
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3. What first round series interests you most?

Mayberry - Clippers-Warriors. But the loss of Andrew Bogut mars that matchup a bit. It still should be entertaining and competitive. Rockets-Blazers should be a good one, too.

Carlson - Thunder-Grizzlies. Yes, it’s the local team, but this matchup is a juicy one. It’s become a regular occurrence in the postseason, and to this point, the playoff series between these two franchises have been good. Very interesting. Always close.

Slater - Avert your eyes from the East and turn West. Then close your eyes and take a pick. There's a ton of intrigue on that side of the bracket. Clippers-Warriors will provide run-and-gun fun, Thunder-Grizzlies has two offensive dynamos trying to burst past a brick-wall defense, Spurs-Mavericks matches a pair of aging legends and Rockets-Blazers will make for some quality late-night viewing. Can't go wrong in the West. Can't say the same about the East.

Tramel - Besides OKC-Memphis? It would have been Warriors-Clippers, if Andrew Bogut had been healthy. But I don’t like Golden State’s chances without Bogut. So I guess it’s Portland-Houston. I don’t think the Blazers’ depth can hold up, but if it can, Portland could challenge Houston. But really, Thunder-Grizzlies is No. 1. Memphis could win this series, especially if the Thunder doesn’t flip on the switch.

4. Which non-Durant/LeBron player is likely to steal the postseason show?

Mayberry - I'll go with John Wall. He quietly enjoyed his best season this year but is still flying under the radar nationally. All he'll need to do is push his Wizards past the Bulls in the first round and give the Pacers a scare in the second. Both are totally doable since neither the Bulls nor the Pacers have anyone who can slow him down despite both teams fielding great team defenses.

Carlson - I said before how much I like Joakim Noah’s nose for big games, but if he doesn’t steal the show, I’d say Blake Griffin has a chance to be that guy. He has taken his game to a whole other level this season. And the Clippers are likely to be in a very up-and-down, fast-paced series in the first round. That means the potential for lots of high-flying dunks. Look for Big Blake to be a playoff star.

Slater - Remember back to last season, when Russell Westbrook seemed poised for a playoff breakout. He was already known as a superstar, a top-15 player. But he looked about ready to vault his name into that 'best point guard in the world' conversation. The freak Game 2 knee injury -- when he dropped 29 points anyway -- derailed his and the Thunder's postseason. And he's been dealing with health issues since. But now, he's back on the big stage. And despite the cautious approach, he looks as healthy and explosive as ever. Plus, he's got a Titanic-sized chip on his shoulder, out for revenge against Memphis, Houston and anyone who ever even looked at him funny. Watch out, fellow point guards.

Tramel - Joakim Noah. Noah grows on you, the more you watch him. And the Bulls center is headed for a bunch of games, because Chicago will make the East finals and be standing in Miami’s way. He’s a wonderful player that is overlooked because the one thing he does subpar – shooting – is the one thing the masses embrace the most.


by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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by Anthony Slater
Thunder Beat Writer
Anthony Slater started on the Thunder beat in the summer of 2013, joining after two years as NewsOK.com's lead sports blogger and web editor. A native Californian, Slater attended Sonoma State for two years before transferring to Oklahoma State in...
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