First, Metta World Peace should be expelled from the League.

There.  It has been stated before the series even starts, so that it can’t be said I’m pitching a fit if the outcome of the series is not to my liking.  Ron Artest (MWP) should be gone.  When a person has earned more than 100 games worth of suspensions, he clearly does not want to behave in a manner expected in order to remain in this organization.

There is nothing personal here.  This is an attitude.  It’s something in his heart.  I wrote a similar article about Andrew Bynum after last year’s display of childishness when the Lakers knew they were going to be swept in the playoffs.  World Peace (what an incredible misnomer) has shown no sign of remorse for his recent actions and likely will not.  If this attitude is in his heart, expect it to show up again.  He can’t help it.  If the Thunder take a 3-0 lead in this series, the officials should watch very closely for physical retaliation that will make the NFL Bounty-gate investigation personnel think twice.

With that said, I’m picking the Thunder in six.  This would provide symmetry for OKC to atone for the loss in the 2010 series with L.A.

Both Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant will get their points.  Russell Westbrook should get the better of Ramon Sessions.  The X-factors of James Harden and MWP can be discussed another time.  It’s the play inside that will make the biggest difference between the 2010 and 2012 series.

The Kendrick Perkins trade (which sent Jeff Green and Nenad Kristic to Boston) is proving to be more valuable with each series.  If he is healthy, he will be able to bang around against Bynum and Pao Gasol with more effectiveness than Green or Kristic ever could.  Hopefully, nine days of rest has done the trick.

Throw in a much improved version of Serge Ibaka, who is by far the best shot blocker in the NBA right now, and the odds are suddenly in favor of the team from a flyover state.

So I’m sticking with OKC to win in six.  Although I will happily take a series in which the Thunder dispatch L.A. more quickly.

And yes, it should be a series which does not feature Metta World Peace.