The Thunder are prohibitive favorites to beat the Lakers in the second round of the NBA Playoffs.
The Thunder are prohibitive favorites to beat the Lakers in the second round of the NBA Playoffs. Reuters

The best series of the 2012 NBA Playoffs, in many people's eyes, is set to begin.

The Lakers and Thunder get their Western Conference Semifinals matchup under way Monday night at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City.

Game 1 is set to begin at 9:30 p.m. ET. You can watch the game live on TNT. If you can't get to a television, you can watch the live online stream of the game here.

The No. 2 seed Thunder host the three-seeded Lakers for the fourth time this season. OKC won two of the three regular season matchups between the two squads.

It's the first time the Lakers will see the Thunder since Metta World Peace was suspended for seven games for elbowing the Thunder's James Harden. World Peace still claims that the incident was an accident, and said he won't shake Harden's hand when the two see each other on the court.

World Peace returned to the Lakers lineup on Saturday for Game 7 against the Nuggets. He played 44 minutes and scored 15 points for Los Angeles.

It's a matchup of the two best scorers in the NBA. Kevin Durant won his third consecutive scoring title, averaging 28 points per game. Bryant finished right behind him, putting in 27.9 per contest.

Despite being separated by just one seed in the West, OKC is considered heavy favorites to move on to the next round. According to the online sportsbook Bovada, Los Angeles is a plus 325 underdog to win the series.

The Thunder are 7.5 point favorites at most Las Vegas sportsbooks.

It will be interesting to see how each team responds to the amount of rest they've had prior to this game. The Lakers played their last game less than 48 hours ago. The Thunder are on their biggest break of the season. They haven't played since sweeping the Mavericks on May 5.

Oklahoma City starting center Kendrick Perkins is a game-time decision for Game 1. He strained his right hip muscle in Game 4 of the Thunder's series with the Mavericks.

Perkins is no stranger to playing the Lakers in the postseason. He faced Los Angeles twice in the NBA Finals with the Celtics.

In fact, multiple players on this OKC team have experience playing against the Lakers in the playoffs. Los Angeles beat Oklahoma City in six games in the first round in 2010.