Are Young Thunder Mentally Tough Enough to Claw Back Against Spurs?

Matt ShetlerCorrespondent IMay 30, 2012

SAN ANTONIO, TX - MAY 27:  (L-R) James Harden #13, Kevin Durant #35 and Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder walk off the court after losing 101-98 to the San Antonio Spurs 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 Oklahoma City Thunder have dug themselves into a huge hole, falling behind 2-0 to the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference finals.

In order for the Thunder to crawl back into the series, they not only need flawless execution, but also to show some mental toughness. It's debatable whether or not Oklahoma City can accomplish the first part of that statement, but I don't feel that mental toughness is a real issue among Scott Brooks' team.

Kevin Durant and company are plenty good when it comes to the mental part of the game, and they've demonstrated that the entire postseason thus far.

Entering the Western Conference finals, the Thunder were 8-1 in the playoffs, but it hasn't been an easy eight wins.

They were tested by the Dallas Mavericks and needed a couple fourth-quarter comebacks to sweep the defending champions. Then there was the Lakers series, where the Thunder were behind in the fourth quarter in three of their wins.

No, this team is mentally tough.

Even if it were an issue, having a time-tested veteran like Derek Fisher in the locker room would make sure that the Thunder are in a good mental state heading into Game 3.

The problem has been execution and the fact that this Spurs team is the best team in the NBA and plays like it on a nightly basis.

For the Thunder to get back into the series, it's a matter of adjusting on the offensive end of the floor and doing something defensively to make it harder for San Antonio to score.

There have been plenty of problems, from Brooks being outcoached by Gregg Popovich to Tony Parker having his way with Russell Westbrook, but it's just a matter of making the proper adjustments and executing at both ends of the floor.

Heading home will help things, but if the Thunder don't play better as a team, then that won't matter much either.

It all comes down to X's and O's.

The Thunder as a team have plenty of confidence and the talent to win Game 3. 

That's priority No. 1. They can't win two games at once to even up the series, so taking it one game at a time is a must.

Time will tell if the Thunder come to play Thursday night, but the only area where I'm not worried about this team is the mental game.

They know what they have to do. Now it's just a matter of going out and getting the job done.