Thunder face West's best in climb toward top

The Oklahoma City Thunder aren't getting any shortcuts as they try to climb to the top of the Western Conference.

The Thunder's path through the postseason lined up so they'd have to get through the only three teams that have won the West since 1998.

It started with the Dallas Mavericks, who were trying to defend their NBA title. Next up was the Los Angeles Lakers, who have won five championships since 2000. In the Western Conference finals, the Thunder will now face the four-time champion San Antonio Spurs.

The series starts Sunday night in San Antonio, with both teams getting the better part of a week off to prepare.

The Oklahoma City franchise is trying to reach the NBA finals for the first time since losing to Michael Jordan's Bulls in 1996 as the Seattle SuperSonics.

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