The Dallas Mavericks and Oklahoma City Thunder begin the Western Conference Finals Tuesday evening with tip-off scheduled for 8 o'clock from the American Airlines Center.

The Mavericks used strong defense to sweep the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers in the second round, giving them nine days off between games. Meanwhile the Thunder needed all full seven games and then some, playing three overtimes in one game and one extra period in another, to get past the Memphis Grizzlies.

The series will truly be a match-up off opposites as Dallas is a collection of 30-somethings banded together by a collective pursuit of their first championship. They have plenty of guys who've come close to the title, including some holdovers from the 2006 team that fell to Miami.

The Thunder on the other hand are the epitome of youth as team leaders and top-scorers SF Kevin Durant and PG Russell Westbrook are  both 22. Fellow starter PF Serge Ibaka is just 21 years old, while midseason acquisition C Kendrick Perkins is a mere 26, and SG Thabo Sefolosha is the old man of the group at 27.The top four scorers on the Thunder are 23 or younger. The Mavs only have two guys who are 23 or younger and neither has played this postseason.

There are plenty of story lines to keep an eye on through-out the series, rust vs rest, youth vs experience, as well as the short 200 miles between the two cities.