It’s the Western Finals that, on paper, should have been expected for months. The number one and number two seed in the conference tangle in a midwestern matchup of balanced teams (both offensively and defensively).
If I had to put money on this matchup, it would confidently on the Oklahoma City Thunder. I think the Thunder have another level in them that the Spurs don’t have. Sefolosha can limit Parker, Harden will cancel out Manu, which will leave Durant to have a one of those career series. Sorry Timmy, but Perk and Ibaka are not like the ‘bigs’ of the Clippers.
I don’t see the Spurs depth like most people. They start Boris Diaw, Danny Green, and Kawhi Leonard. If ‘Pop’ started Manu Ginobili & Stephen Jackson they wouldn’t look so deep.
Basketball old schoolists would say that this series is about team ball/balance vs. a couple of superstars. But the history of the NBA says that OKC would win this matchup. Stars who can raise their level of play each series advance. Duncan doesn’t have that ability any longer. Plus, the Thunder role players are very underrated. Perkins, Ibaka, Sefolosha, Collison, Cook…I like their versatility and toughness more than those of San Antonio.
Oh, and if you’re a matchup lush like Rick Kamla, don’t expect Westbrook & Parker to guard each other much in this series. The SG’s will check each team’s star PG…and I like Sefolosha’s defense a lot more than Danny Green’s. Edge OKC.
Despite their head coach and big three, the San Antonio Spurs have plenty of inexperience. Leonard is a rookie and Green has a lot left to prove. Tiago Splitter too is green off the bench. When I look at the Spurs roster I see many of the same faces that folded to the pressure of the Memphis Grizzlies just a year ago. Unlike SAS, the Thunder got all the way to the Conference Finals last year and are poised to take the next step.
One interesting thing to watch will be when Brooks goes to his smaller lineup of Kevin Durant at the 4. He took advantage of that against the Lakers. Mike Brown was stubborn, staying with his big lineup, all the way until game 5 when it was already too late. Pop will adjust and go small….four guards and Timmy. Brooks must adjust. It’ll be a trap…as San Antonio will fall into the trap of playing uptempo. I can see this series getting out of hand in games 3 & 4 in OKC.
The Thunder have won games numerous ways these playoffs, stepping way outside their comfort zones….fast, slow, down 7 late (three times). The Spurs, other than the comeback at the Clippers in game 3, have been on cruise control. I know what the Old…I mean, ‘Big Three’ will do, but how will Kawhi, Danny, Boris, and Tiago respond when or if they get down in the series?
We’ll find out very soon…..