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How will the west be won?

John Wayne (Spurs) and his True Grit style has been eliminated. Clint Eastwood's (Lakers) Unforgiven-ness might come to a close this weekend. Who will be the big Western star in the Western Conference now? There are three options. The new True Grit stars: The Memphis Grizzlies or Jeff Bridges. The rising star who is still a little unknown from Deadwood and Justified, Timothy Olyphant or the Oklahoma City Thunder. And the old dog who is out trying to turn a new trick Cowboys and Aliens style in Harrison Ford aka the Dallas Mavericks.

Down and out ...

True Grit - 1969: I will admit that I've only seen a few minutes of the original with John Wayne and unfortunately I had to watch a lot of Spurs games throughout the years. The Nuggets matched up against San Antonio twice in the post-season since 2005 and lost both series. Also, the Nuggets face the Spurs 3-4 times every season. The Tim Duncan era Spurs were always more about doing the little things than they were about glitz and glamor. They were done in this season by a team that did the little things better than they did. Can the Spurs come back next season and give it another run? Only father time will tell.

Unforgiven - 1992: This film was all about an old criminal going for one last job. Throughout the movie the star, Eastwood, takes his lumps and tries to figure out what the heck he's even doing his last job for. And just when you think Eastwood is done for and finished - he comes back. The Lakers are down 0-3 to the Mavericks and everyone thinks they are down for the count. It's likely that L.A. is done (this season), but never count out an old gunner. If any team can come back from 0-3 down, it's the Lakers. And the Mavs are a team that I could see, in past years, giving up a 3-0 lead. But something is different out these Mavs and something is off about these Lakers.

The Contenders ...

True Grit - 2010: The Memphis Grizzlies have shown what a team playing together can do. The Nuggets couldn't get it done against the Thunder because they didn't have a guy who could step up late in the fourth quarter. Like the Nuggets, the Grizzlies lack a "superstar" - but they have a guy who plays great under pressure in Zach Randolph. The power forward carved up the Spurs and played great in Game 1 against the Thunder. The Grizz showed they can beat the Thunder and now that the series is tied 1-1 and back in Memphis, they are looking to take a commanding 3-1 series lead in the next two home games. It wont be easy as we saw the Thunder grab a win in Game 3 in Denver. But if the Grizzlies can continue to play as a team, use their size to their advantage, and close out games late they just might have a shot to represent the Western Conference in the NBA Finals.

Deadwood - 2004-2006 and Justified - 2010-present: The Oklahoma City Thunder have two stars who are big screen capable, but the small market makes their team a very successful TV hit. Olyphant is one of my favorite actors so comparing him to the Thunder wasn't an easy task. While the Thunder are a likable team to the casual fan, Nuggets Nation is none to happy with that squad. The two stars, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant, have been grabbing all the headlines, but Serge Ibaka has been the guy stepping up and doing the dirty work. The winner of the OKC/Memphis series might not have as much rest as the Mavs, but the young legs will be ready to try to make their first trips to the NBA Finals.

Aliens and Cowboys - 2011: The Dallas Mavericks. A very unconventional movie goes great with a very tough task of taking out the defending champs. Harrison Ford is past his movie prime, but he's still finding ways to get it done. Shawn Marion, Jason Kidd, Peja Stojakovic, Jason Terry, and Brendan Haywood are all past their primes, but like Ford they are finding a way to get it done. Perhaps starring in a movie alongside Daniel Craig aka Dirk Nowitzki makes things a bit easier, but they all are working together in great fashion. The Mavs must be considered the favorites if they take out the Lakers. And if they can do it in four games they wont have spent the energy most would have predicted it would take to beat the defending champs. It's always dangerous to get a lot of rest (a Mavs sweep??), while the Thunder and Grizz might duke it out for six or seven games and come into a series on a hot streak, but the veteran Mavs squad could probably use a day or two of relaxation before the Western Conference Final battle that awaits.

Which team do you want to see represent the Western Conference in the NBA Finals?

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