Are the Thunder still the favorites in the West? Oklahoma City will be challenged by the Lakers, who added Dwight Howard and Steve Nash in the offseason, but SI’s Chris Mannix thinks the incumbent Thunder are still the team to beat in a tough conference. (Greg Nelson/SI)
MANNIX: Thunder are still best team in WestAMICK: Insiders believe Thunder are contendersGALLERY: Rare Photos of Kevin Durant

Are the Thunder still the favorites in the West? Oklahoma City will be challenged by the Lakers, who added Dwight Howard and Steve Nash in the offseason, but SI’s Chris Mannix thinks the incumbent Thunder are still the team to beat in a tough conference. (Greg Nelson/SI)

MANNIX: Thunder are still best team in West
AMICK: Insiders believe Thunder are contenders
GALLERY: Rare Photos of Kevin Durant

These Thunder fans, who clearly take fashion advice from Russell Westbrook, pose for a photo before Tuesday’s game against the Heat in Miami. Unfortunately for these fans, things didn’t work out for Oklahoma City. LeBron James scored 26 points to go along with 12 assists and 9 rebounds as the Heat took a 3-1 series lead with a 104-98 victory. Miami will try and close out the series in front of its home crowd on Thursday. (Ray Amati/NBAE via Getty Images)
ROSENBERG: LeBron does it all in Heat victoryTHOMSEN: LeBron fights cramps to beat ThunderGALLERY: SI’s Best Photos From Game 4GALLERY: Russell Westbrook: Fashion Icon

These Thunder fans, who clearly take fashion advice from Russell Westbrook, pose for a photo before Tuesday’s game against the Heat in Miami. Unfortunately for these fans, things didn’t work out for Oklahoma City. LeBron James scored 26 points to go along with 12 assists and 9 rebounds as the Heat took a 3-1 series lead with a 104-98 victory. Miami will try and close out the series in front of its home crowd on Thursday. (Ray Amati/NBAE via Getty Images)

ROSENBERG: LeBron does it all in Heat victory
THOMSEN: LeBron fights cramps to beat Thunder
GALLERY: SI’s Best Photos From Game 4
GALLERY: Russell Westbrook: Fashion Icon

LeBron James skies for a dunk on Serge Ibaka during Thursday’s Heat-Thunder game. Although Ibaka ended up blocking this attempt, James and Miami got the last laugh with a 100-96 win to tie up the NBA Finals at 1-1. Game 3 is Sunday in Miami. (Greg Nelson/SI)
ROSENBERG: Heat prove to be stronger, grittier team in Game 2THOMSEN: LeBron delivers with clutch play in fourth quarterGALLERY: SI’s Best Photos From Game 2

LeBron James skies for a dunk on Serge Ibaka during Thursday’s Heat-Thunder game. Although Ibaka ended up blocking this attempt, James and Miami got the last laugh with a 100-96 win to tie up the NBA Finals at 1-1. Game 3 is Sunday in Miami. (Greg Nelson/SI)

ROSENBERG: Heat prove to be stronger, grittier team in Game 2
THOMSEN: LeBron delivers with clutch play in fourth quarter
GALLERY: SI’s Best Photos From Game 2

LeBron James posts up Kevin Durant during a March 2012 game between the Thunder and Heat. The two teams face off tonight in Game 1 of the NBA Finals and of the six SI experts, four project Oklahoma City will wind up victorious. (Garrett Ellwood/Getty Images)
SI EXPERTS: SI writers predict the Finals matchupROUNDTABLE: Sizing up the Finals’ biggest questionsTHOMSEN: Why LeBron has advantage over Durant

LeBron James posts up Kevin Durant during a March 2012 game between the Thunder and Heat. The two teams face off tonight in Game 1 of the NBA Finals and of the six SI experts, four project Oklahoma City will wind up victorious. (Garrett Ellwood/Getty Images)

SI EXPERTS: SI writers predict the Finals matchup
ROUNDTABLE: Sizing up the Finals’ biggest questions
THOMSEN: Why LeBron has advantage over Durant

Russell Westbrook stood out during his two years at UCLA, leading the Bruins to two Final Four appearances, and he’s standing out in the 2012 playoffs. The former Bruin poured in 23 points and added 12 assists as the Thunder took a 3-2 series lead with a 108-103 victory over the Spurs on Monday. Oklahoma City can secure a trip to the Finals with a victory Wednesday night in front of its home crowd. (John W. McDonough/SI)
HUBBARD: Thunder show they are ready to win title

Russell Westbrook stood out during his two years at UCLA, leading the Bruins to two Final Four appearances, and he’s standing out in the 2012 playoffs. The former Bruin poured in 23 points and added 12 assists as the Thunder took a 3-2 series lead with a 108-103 victory over the Spurs on Monday. Oklahoma City can secure a trip to the Finals with a victory Wednesday night in front of its home crowd. (John W. McDonough/SI)

HUBBARD: Thunder show they are ready to win title

Kevin Durant lofts the go-ahead shot over Pau Gasol during the fourth quarter of Wednesday’s Lakers-Thunder game. Oklahoma City trailed by seven with two minutes left but Durant scored nine late points to steal a 77-75 victory for the Thunder, who lead 2-0 in the Western Conference Semifinals. (Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
MANNIX: Durant shows why he’s key to Thunder title hopesGALLERY: Rare Photos of Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant lofts the go-ahead shot over Pau Gasol during the fourth quarter of Wednesday’s Lakers-Thunder game. Oklahoma City trailed by seven with two minutes left but Durant scored nine late points to steal a 77-75 victory for the Thunder, who lead 2-0 in the Western Conference Semifinals. (Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)

MANNIX: Durant shows why he’s key to Thunder title hopes
GALLERY: Rare Photos of Kevin Durant