Ainge likes Thunder, Clippers over Spurs

Ainge likes Thunder, Clippers over Spurs
April 17, 2014, 5:00 pm
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The Celtics didn't sniff the NBA postseason this season - not a shock to anybody that followed along over the offseason or at any point this season.

But there are plenty of former Celtics in the mix.

Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett are ready for battle with the Nets. Kendrick Perkins and the Thunder are one of the favorites to win it all. They'll have to beat Doc Rivers' Clippers to get to the NBA Finals though. And don't forget Courtney Lee and the Grizzlies who were the last team to clinch a playoff spot. And hey, Jordan Crawford's Warriors could make some noise.

You'll have a first row seat on your couch for the action - just like the Celtics will and GM Danny Ainge. He was asked earlier today on 98.5 The Sports Hub's Toucher and Rich to give his picks for the NBA Finals. He likes the usual suspects on the Eastern Conference side.

"I think Indiana getting the homecourt against Miami, I think one of those two teams will win it," Ainge said. "Certainly it evens the playing field. But listen, I think Miami is the best team when they're really locked in. I think they drifted throughout the course of the season this year because it's their fourth straight year of playing basketball into June. Indiana is up an coming but I probably will still go with Miami to win the East."

The Spurs cruised to the best record in the NBA this season, going on a 19-game winning streak in the process. They're the No. 1 seed going into the postseason out West, and will play the Dallas Mavericks to open things up. While Ainge doesn't think they'll have a problem in the first round, he thinks two teams could get in the way of the Spurs as the playoffs progress.

"I think it's between the Clippers and the Thunder," Ainge said. "I think those are the top teams in the West. I go back a couple years when San Antonio was on this same kind of run. Huge winning streak and even was just dominant in the playoffs, and win the first two games against Oklahoma City and then OKlahoma City's athletes just turned up the heat and went on to win four straight against San Antonio, and nobody saw that coming.

"I think Oklahoma City still has that same kind of athleticism as do the Clippers. They have better athletes, they're younger, and they're also very experienced teams. So I think the Clippers with J.J. Redick healthy, and Jamal Crawford healthy, I think that that team can give the Oklahoma City Thunder all they can handle."

So according to Ainge, the NBA Finals will be between Thunder/Clippers vs. Heat/Pacers.