March 29, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder small forward Kevin Durant (35) heads down court after a dunk over Los Angeles Lakers power forward Pau Gasol (16) during the second half of the game at the Staples Center. Thunder won 102-93. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

Why the Thunder will beat the Lakers

No, you’re not reading that title wrong. As editor of fellow FanSided blog Thunderous Intentions, I am here to bring a little sense to one of the most irrational fan bases in the country.

The Oklahoma City Thunder will host Game 1 tonight against the Los Angeles Lakers. It’s a series we’ve all been waiting for. The Lakers think they still have a chance at a title and the Thunder are here to let them know how far away they actually are.

We’ll start with the big men since that’s really the only advantage the Lakers may have.

Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol have looked like All-Stars in these playoffs (Game 1 and 7 vs. Denver) and they’ve also mailed games in (Games 5 and 6 vs. Denver). They’re not going to be able to take any games off if they hope to compete with the Thunder, let alone beat them.

Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka together form some of the best interior defense in the league and they will prove it in this series. They aren’t going to have to double either Bynum or Gasol and they aren’t going to let them easily clean up their misses inside like Denver did. Expect more one-and-done possessions and to see the Thunder stars flying back down the other end of the court and finishing with highlight plays.

Speaking of highlight finishers, Russell Westbrook is poised to go off in this series. Ramon Sessions and Steve Blake simply have no chance of slowing down Westbrook who, by the way, is playing some of the best basketball he ever has right now.

If you want to go ahead and throw Kobe Bryant on Westbrook, be my guest. I’d love to see Kobe chasing Westbrook around for five or six games on defense. But I guess you might as well since you can’t get much worse than 30 percent shooting from the field which is what Kobe did in three games against the Thunder this season.

The Thunder won’t be doubling Kobe in this series and that means Kobe won’t be passing. After Bynum and Gasol are contained down low and Kobe isn’t forced to get rid of the ball, get ready for “hero ball” at its finest and a lot of 9-for-27 and 6-for-24 showings from Kobe.

The same script won’t be told for Kevin Durant. I know Lakers fans think Metta World Peace is going to be able to contain Durant but it simply isn’t happening. Durant is grown up now and knows how to beat guys like World Peace.

Also, if you remember the last time these teams played, Durant had about 10 wide open jump shots that he happened to miss. That’s not happening in this series. Durant will continue to get looks and the best catch-and-shoot gunner in the league is going to be locked in and ripping net all series long.

And you can thank World Peace for the dirty elbow he laid on James Harden a few weeks back. It only unleashed “The Bear” which is the new and improved Harden who is Ginobili 2.0 and I have a feeling kind of motivated for this series. Here’s a preview of what to expect.

It’s nice that the Lakers made it to the second round this year. This series will draw in much better ratings than OKC-Denver but unfortunately, it will probably only last four or five games.

The crown for top dog in the league is just sitting for the taking and the Thunder aren’t shy. They may be young but also happened to be more talented than, you know, every other team in the league.

Get ready for a fun Game 1 tonight because by the time it’s over, it’ll be clear who is taking this series and the rest of the games won’t be so fun.

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Tags: Andrew Bynum James Harden Kendrick Perkins Kevin Durant Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers Metta World Peace Oklahoma City Thunder Pau Gasol Russell Westbrook Serge Ibaka

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