2013 NBA Playoffs: Complete Western Conference first round preview

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The 2013 NBA Playoffs are upon us, so that means that it’s the best time of the year for NBA fans.

When we look at the Western Conference, the Oklahoma City Thunder are looking to take the next step and win an NBA championship, but seven other teams will look to have something to say about that.

There are plenty of storylines in the Western Conference other than in OKC. Can James Harden make the Thunder pay for trading him? Will the Clippers and Grizzlies show the hate for each other that we expect? Can the Lakers beat the Spurs without Kobe Bryant? Will the Spurs get things figured out and make a run at their fifth ring? And will the Nuggets and Warriors break the scoreboard with what promises to be a fast-paced and exciting series?

Those questions and plenty more will answered over the course of the next couple of months.

Feb 20, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden (13) drives to the basket during the fourth quarter against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Toyota Center. The Rockets defeated the Thunder 122-119. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

As the postseason begins gets set to begin this Saturday, here’s a look at everything you need to know about each first round series.

No. 1 Oklahoma City Thunder vs. No. 8 Houston Rockets

Season Series: OKC 2-1

How they matchup:

Oklahoma City- 60-22

Points per game: 105.7 (third in NBA)

Rebounds per game: 43.6 (sixth)

Assists per game: 21.4 (21st)

Points allowed per game: 96.5 (ninth)

Field goal percentage: 48.1% (third)

Three-point percentage: 37.7% (third)

Free-throw percentage:  82.8% (first)

Houston- 45-37

Points per game: 106.0(second)

Rebounds per game: 43.4 (seventh)

Assists per game:  23.2 (sixth)

Points allowed per game:  102.5 (28th)

Field goal percentage: 46.1% (ninth)

Three-point percentage: 36.6% (eighth)

Free-throw percentage:  75.4% (17th)

What to expect: This should be an exciting series filled with a lot of up and down action as it features two of the three top scoring teams in the league.

The storyline here is James Harden against his old team, but Harden’s first taste of leading a team into the playoffs as a franchise player will likely be a quick one.

The Rockets are a nice story but they have their issues at the defensive end of the floor.

The difference between the two teams is that the Thunder can get stops when they need them.

Prediction: Oklahoma City in five

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