NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has to be loving this. Two NBA conference finals series with teams that most people thought would be in this position. With the Oklahoma City Thunder & San Antonio Spurs, both teams had far tougher roads to get here than the Miami Heat & Indiana Pacers in the East. Big time, high level series that can take fans’ minds off of the crap going on with Donald Sterling, the racist comments & the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers coming soon.
Both the Spurs & Thunder had to grind out series wins in both of their series, the Spurs dealing with the Dallas Mavericks & Portland Trail Blazers while the Thunder dealt with Memphis Grizzlies for 7 games & the Los Angeles Clippers for 6. These teams are both battle tested & ready to go for this series, which will begin on Monday night in San Antonio.
With this series being on TNT, the entertainment will begin early on……seeing Charles Barkley in San Antonio after he has run down the San Antonio women in his Inside the NBA rants will be must see television.
Charles Barkley on San Antonio women – Inside The NBA
On the actual court, this is as even a series as you can ask for to figure out who will be playing for the NBA Championship. The Thunder & the Spurs have their version of the “big 3” with the Spurs having Tim Duncan, Tony Parker & Manu Ginobili & the Thunder having NBA MVP Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook & Serge Ibaka.
The teams play a completely different style, which in the playoffs in the past has favored the Spurs. While the Thunder love to use their athleticism & ability to get up & down the court very quickly with their high-wire, high-flying style, the Spurs love to play in the half-court offense & they are athletic enough to slow down OKC & make them a more methodical team, which is where the Thunder sometimes run into trouble.
Here are some basic keys to the series on both sides.
Russell Westbrook Has To Be More Disciplined In Terms Of Taking Better Quality Shots.
Russell Westbrook is one of the best overall athletes & players in the NBA & has had a tremendous playoff after missing last year’s playoff run with injury. However, Westbrook gets into a bad habit at times of taking too many terrible shots through the course of a game which lead to airballs or complete turnovers & overall harming the Thunder offense.
There has to be a balance between the amount of touches & shots that Westbrook gets along with Kevin Durant in order for the Thunder to have a chance against the Spurs, who truly don’t care about who gets the big shot, just as long as the team gets victories.
This situation is going to be a huge key in terms of being able to get through the Spurs & to win an NBA championship against the Heat or Pacers, both of whom will play on Westbrook’s knack for taking a less than stellar shot in key situations.
Tim Duncan vs Serge Ibaka.
This is going to be a fun one-on-one matchup for many reasons. Duncan can play inside & outside with his infamous bank shot that he can hit from almost anywhere on the court. Serge Ibaka is able to guard down low, but also come out to the key and guard forwards/centers like Duncan.
Where this will be a key will be on the block……can Tim Duncan make moves in the post & get Ibaka into some foul trouble early on? Can Ibaka pull Duncan from the basket making the lanes open for Westbrook & Durant to go up against Thiago Spitter & Kawhi Leonard? Early in the series, this will be the way to judge how the series is going to be played.
Overall, The Spurs Beat Thunder in 7 Games.
The Thunder & Spurs will have one of the best NBA Western Conference Finals in many years. It will be a complete clash in styles, lots of adjustments throughout the entire series, but at the end of the day, the Spurs have the experience & are so driven to get back to the NBA Finals to have another shot at the Miami Heat, especially after the debacle that happened last year in Miami with the Spurs blowing the last 2 games of the series to allow the Heat to win in 7 games.
The Thunder are close, but right now, they are not at the Spurs level of play.