Western Conference Finals Preview: #1 San Antonio Spurs vs. #2 OKC Thunder
Preview and Analysis
#1 San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs come in with the 2nd best offense in the Western Conference at just under 104 points per contest and boast the 6th ranked defense giving up just over 96 points a game. Their scoring differential this season was 7.2 points per contest.
Their ability to put a constant attack on teams via both their starters and their back ups has been unmatched in the NBA this season. Each player on their squad can either score and rebound, or score and dish, or all of the above. Each of their players are contributors as they have been a team in the true sense of the word.
Tony Parker has been their leading scorer and top assist man, while Tim Duncan has remained their top rebounder and shot blocker this season. Duncan has only seen a reduction in points and boards due to, Head Coach of the Year award winner, Gregg Popovich's decision to rest him throughout the regular season.
The Spurs come in with the best record in the Western Conference at 50-16, best in the NBA, during the regular season. Their playoff record thus far has been perfect at 8-0. Their current win streak stands at 18 games just one shy of the all time mark set by the 2000-01 LA Lakers.
#2 OKC Thunder
The Thunder come in as the 3rd ranked offense, scoring just over 103 points per contest. They boast the 7th ranked defense in the Western Conference, giving up just under 97 points per game with a differential of 6.2 points per contest. Not far behind San Antonio as was their record. They clearly were the two best teams in the West and have proved that again during the 2012 playoffs. The Thunder boast the league's top scorer in Kevin Durant and the NBA's 6th Man of the Year award winner in James Harden.
The Thunder are hungry, young, and talented and should give the Spurs a run for their money, something they haven't had thus far. The Thunder have been in two much tougher series and dispatched of the last two NBA champions. They are looking for their first in the Kevin Durant era and do not want to wait another year only to watch the Spurs move on.
The one-two-three punch of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden have been difficult for most teams to handle, but the up and coming Thunder have seemed less electrifying against the veteran Spurs.
This series is primed for quite a bit of action, excitement, and basketball education as both teams play the right way. This one will be fun for the fans to watch and should deliver as it boasts the top two teams this season in the Western Conference finals for a trip to the 2012 NBA finals and a chance at the Naismith Trophy. The Durantula is hungry, but the Big Fundamental is capable of squashing his poisonous foe.
Analysis and Prediction
The Western Conference finals were set after the Oklahoma Thunder dispatched the reeling LA Lakers on Monday evening. Now they get to meet the Spurs who have been waiting in the wings. The Spurs have been the Thunder's nemesis all season long beating them two out of three times and taking over the number one spot in the west late in the season. The Spurs are proving that their veteran, hall of fame, and youthful hungry presence is what earned them that top spot and they are focused on obtaining at least a handful of rings.
The Spurs will be going for their fifth title in 13 seasons and the Thunder are still searching for their first. The Spurs have seen it all and that will help them in this series as they find away to reflect the force of the Thunder back into OKC's direction. The Spurs are just too battle tested, too focused, too talented, too youthful, and too well coached. The Spurs will take this one in their toughest test of the season and the playoffs, but will meet all challenges head on and eventually defeat this young up and comer. The Thunder will have to wait, the Spurs are not done winning titles yet.