Lakers vs. Thunder Game 1
The Oklahoma City Thunder will host the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals on Monday after wildly divergent first-round experiences.
The Thunder swept the reigning champion Dallas Mavericks and earned over a week's worth of rest as a result. Despite only winning the first two games against Dallas by a combined four points, Scott Brooks' club kept the pressure on the Mavericks and never let them get back into the series.
Meanwhile, Los Angeles struggled to close out the Denver Nuggets after taking a 3-1 series lead, ultimately finishing the young sixth seed off in Saturday night's Game 7 by a 96-87 final score.
Unless the extended vacation has added some rust to the rolling Thunder, the Lakers could find themselves outrun by a well-rested young team with something to prove.
Mike Brown's Lakers have struggled on the road this year, going just 15-18 in the regular season and losing two out of three games in Denver during the first round. That's especially bad news against a team that was 26-7 in regular-season games played in Oklahoma.
The Thunder took two of three games against the Lakers during the regular season, dropping the third in a 114-106, double-overtime classic at the Staples Center April 22