MMD May 20, 2014 0

The Spurs have now qualified for 9 out of the last 16 Western Conference Finals. This is Oklahoma City’s third trip in four years. The Thunder beat the Spurs in 6 games of the 2012 final. The Thunder also swept the season series.

Let’s take a look at the lineups. Note the Thunder’s starting power forward and shot blocking wizard Serge Ibaka will miss the series with a calf injury. Oklahoma City likes to play small-ball at times, so Caron Butler can be swapped into the starting five for Thabo Sefolosha or Nick Collison, we’ll have to see how coach Scott Brooks plays it – so I’m guessing on the Thunder starters.


SPURS (record to date is 70-24)
1- Tony Parker
2- Danny Green
3- Kawhi Leonard
4- Tim Duncan
5- Tiago Splitter

SG- Manu Ginobili
PF- Boris Diaw
PG- Patty Mills
G- Marco Belinelli
C- Matt Bonner

F- Jeff Ayres
PG- Cory Joseph
C- Aron Baynes
F- Austin Daye

THUNDER (67-28)
1- Russell Westbrook
2- Thabo Sefolosha
3- Kevin Durant
4- Nick Collison
5- Kendrick Perkins

G- Reggie Jackson
G/F- Caron Butler
C- Steven Adams
PG- Derek Fisher

G/F- Jeremy Lamb
F- Perry Jones
C- Hasheem Thabeet
PF- Grant Jerrett
SF- Andre Roberson


This should be a great back and forth battle. Parker picked up a minor injury in the last round but appears to be healthy for game one. Parker was more efficient against Westbrook this season going 8/18 (44%), Westbrook was 8/25 (32%) but other than that they both got to the paint, shot 3’s, and scored at essentially the same rate.

No Serge Ibaka means it’s pretty much up to Perkins to stop Duncan. Surprisingly Perkins was the much better option to defend the Big Fundamental in the regular season. Perkins held Duncan to 5-18 (28%) for 14 points in 18 minutes. If Perkins can stay out of foul trouble he might be able to neutralize an aging Duncan late in games.

Leonard only allowed KD to hit on 12/28 (43%) in the season series. That’s about as good as you can do against the best shooter in the league (and maybe ever.) Leonard is an excellent defender and if he can at least force Durant to go to his second option, the Spurs should still have enough left in the tank for one more title run. But when Durant is on – no one can stop him. If he hits his shots the Thunder win, if he doesn’t, they lose.

I think which ever team drills more 3’s wins what should be a very even series. LeBron vs. Durant would be epic so let’s hope it’s Oklahoma City in 7.

Article By: Anthony Schiano

Leave A Response »