NBA Playoffs 2012: Experience Will Carry Spurs Past Thunder

Ryan PhillipsContributor IIIMay 28, 2012

SAN ANTONIO, TX - MAY 27:  Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs lays the ball up in front of Kendrick Perkins #5 of the Oklahoma City Thunder in the second half in Game One of the Western Conference Finals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center on May 27, 2012 in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  ((Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The San Antonio Spurs beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 101-98 in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals, and we should all expect similar results as the series goes along. The Spurs have been here before, and they've won championships before. They are playing chess, while the Thunder are still playing checkers.

On Sunday night during Game 1, the Spurs took every punch the Thunder could dish out and just kept coming.

They out-rebounded Oklahoma City 50-43, hit 45.8 percent of their shots from the field and also shared the ball better—racking up 22 assists to OKC's 18. Expect all of those trends to continue as the series goes on.

Led by Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, San Antonio has a core group that simply will not be denied this postseason.

On Sunday night, Ginobili led the way with 26 points, five rebounds, three assists and a steal. Duncan turned in a workman-like 16-point, 11-rebound performance, and Parker scored 18, while grabbing eight rebounds and dishing out six assists. 

The Spurs have now won all nine playoff games they've played and have 19-straight wins overall. In fact, San Antonio hasn't lost in 47 days. That's simply ridiculous.

Frankly, Sunday's performance wasn't close to the best the Spurs have looked this postseason, but it was enough to beat the Thunder.

Once San Antonio gets a feel for what the Thunder do on both ends of the floor, this series could become a walkover. The Spurs saw how the Lakers were able to slow things down in three out of the five games during their Western Conference semifinals matchup with Oklahoma City. That formula can work.

The Spurs didn't play their best game on Sunday and still came away with a win. Don't expect much to change as the series progresses. San Antonio will continue to do just enough to get by the younger, inexperienced Thunder.