San Antonio Spurs: 5 Reasons the Spurs Can Upset the Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder have not disappointed their fans and have been dominant throughout the season. They have often volleyed with the Bulls for the league's best record.
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook form the best scoring duo in the league, while James Harden has the Sixth Man of the Year award wrapped up.
The Thunder are no doubt still the team to beat in the West, but here is one team that have given them problems this season.
The San Antonio Spurs took the season series from the Thunder 2-1.
Tony Parker and the Spurs have the pedigree to deal with a young team like OKC.
Here are five reasons the Thunder hope they do not face San Antonio in the playoffs.
Sure, David Robinson, Bruce Bowen, Robert Horry and Stephen Jackson are long gone. Oh wait, Jackson is back!
The San Antonio Spurs' glory days are gone, but they still have the nucleus of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker. Even in their later years, the threesome is still quite effective.
The team has played well despite Ginobli being injured most of the year. They have the second-best record in the West behind OKC and aren't very far behind the Thunder.
Oklahoma City is very talented but very young. Their two best players, Durant and Westbrook, are only 23 years old. Harden is right behind them at 22.
It's hard to imagine a team this young reaching the NBA Finals.
The Spurs have an advantage with their experience.
This is a no-brainer.
Gregg Popovich has four titles and is widely regarded as one of the best coaches to ever grace an NBA bench.
Can Scott Brooks trade moves in a playoff series against "Pop"?
Of course not.
If it comes down to x's and o's, Popovich will destroy Brooks to knock out the Thunder.
Parker is one of the few guards in the league who can offset Westbrook.
In the Spurs' two wins against OKC this season, Parker dropped point totals of 25 and 42.
Westbrook may have some great games against Parker, but TP will return the favor.
Parker will also do a better job of getting his teammates involved in the game.
The Spurs play a totally different brand of defense than what we saw in their championship runs. They allow more points and also allow opponents to score more effectively.
The Thunder's defense has been slightly better than San Antonio's this season. OKC has a nice core in the frontcourt with Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka.
The problem is San Antonio gets most of their points from their shooting on the perimeter.
The Thunder's wing defenders simply aren't fast enough to rotate to the Spurs' elite shooters.
Danny Green and Gary Neal had great games against the Thunder this season for this reason.
If it comes down to one stop, I still trust Duncan and Co. to get the job done.
Thunder's Lack of Depth
OKC fans were ecstatic earlier this season when their "Big Three" all scored 30-plus points in the same game. While it is quite a feat for the regular season, it spells danger come playoff time.
No team can win with only three players contributing offensively. If one of the Thunder's stars has a bad game, the team will be doomed. They rely far too much on Durant, Westbrook and Harden to score.
With no bench, the Thunder's lack of depth will be a major factor against a team like San Antonio, whose bench runs deep.
San Antonio can rely on Neal, Tiago Splitter, Green and Jackson from the bench.
OKC simply doesn't have the option.
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