Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili
Nonetheless, the Spurs have both experience and a 2-1 record against the Thunder during the regular season on their side.
Tony Parker has had a career year and with the emergence of San Antonio's fast-break offense, the Spurs have some distinct advantages in the Western Conference Finals.
With both teams eager to reach the NBA Finals, there are a few certain ways the Spurs can solidify their spot as the best in the West.
Easier said than done, right?
It may actually be easier for Parker, who had the advantage when the two met this season, as he averaged more points (23.6) and assists (7.6) than Westbrook (22.3 and 6, respectively).
After his second-round performance against Chris Paul, where he held Paul to 12 or less points in three out of the four games, it seems possible.
Parker had possibly the best all-around season of his career, while Westbrook is still steadily progressing into one of the best young players in the game.
If Parker can stay in front of the Thunder’s young point guard and force him to make mistakes, the Spurs will be able to capitalize in the fast break.
The Thunder led the NBA in turnovers per game during the regular season with a little more than 16 per game.
The Spurs have seemingly reinvented themselves recently as they have begun to push the ball more with Tony Parker running the fast break.
If the Spurs are able to get out in transition after Thunder miscues, they will be able to get easy baskets. By neutralizing Serge Ibaka’s post presence, the Spurs will find themselves with better looks at the hoop.
San Antonio only averaged 13.5 turnovers per game and by protecting the ball they will be able to slow down the Thunder’s up-tempo offense.
When James Harden and Co. check into the game for Oklahoma City, it seems as if the opposition is suddenly shell-shocked.
Ginobili must return to his 2008 form, where he won the Sixth Man of the Year Award, and be able to defend the current award winner, Harden.
That is no easy task, however, and Ginobili will certainly have his hands full with the bearded beast.
Nonetheless, if he can give the Spurs some life off the bench and take some pressure off of the starters, then he could possibly even swing a game in this series.
Ginobili did not see action in any of the three Spurs’ games with the Thunder during the regular season, so his creatively unique style could give Oklahoma City’s bench some problems.
With shot blockers such as Kendrick Perkins and Ibaka down low, the Spurs big men must be able to move the Thunder’s big men away from the paint in order to create driving lanes.
After Ibaka blocked 21 shots in the second-round series against the Lakers, the Spurs should try to move "Iblocka" away from the paint by using their big men towards the perimeter.
Whether he is guarding Tim Duncan or Boris Diaw—who can both shoot from about 17 feet consistently—they will cause matchup problems for Ibaka.
By negating the Thunder’s athleticism around the rim, the Spurs backcourt should be able to produce more shots around the rim.
With no other viable option to guard the ultra-talented Kevin Durant, Leonard and Jackson will be assigned the daunting task of defending the three-time scoring champ.
The Spurs really have no answer for "the Durantula," but Leonard has proven throughout his rookie year that he is quite the defender.
The 6’7” Leonard and 6’8” Jackson may be able to match up physically with Durant, but that is about the only way they match up.
If they are able to restrict Durant to around 25 points a game, the Spurs should be in good enough shape to move on to the NBA finals for the first time since 2007.