The Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Lakers, two of the favorites to represent the Western Conference in the NBA Finals, face each other for the fourth time this season Sunday afternoon at Staples Center. The Lakers are trying to avoid being swept in the season series by the Thunder, who are jockeying for position with the San Antonio Spurs for the top seed in the conference.
Kobe Bryant returned against the Spurs Friday night, but the Lakers lost by more than 20 points. Losing back-to-back games to the two higher seeds in the conference is not a good way to engender confidence, and no season in recent memory for the Lakers -- since the pre-Pau Gasol trade days, really -- has been filled with more uncertainty of the on-court product.
The Thunder, at this point, have established that they are among the best teams in the NBA. They're capable of beating any other team. If they want to ensure that a Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals is played in Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City instead of the American Airlines Center in San Antonio, they need to win this game. The Spurs hold a half-game lead for the perch in the conference.
Game Date/Time: Sunday, April 22, 3:30 p.m. ET
Location: Staples Center, Los Angeles