Thunder vs. Spurs: 5 Reasons San Antonio Will Keep Winning

Alex Crawford@@dr_crawfContributor IIIMay 31, 2012

Thunder vs. Spurs: 5 Reasons San Antonio Will Keep Winning

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    The San Antonio Spurs vs Oklahoma City Thunder series couldn't have been scripted better by a Hollywood movie studio.

    It's a classic storyline.  Old vs. young, athleticism vs. wisdom, James Harden's beard vs. Manu Ginobili's bald spot.  

    Even the players coming off the bench in this series are interesting.

    The Spurs have Stephen Jackson, who I consider to be the best player in the league with a tattoo of praying hands holding a gun on their stomach.

    The Thunder have Derek Fisher, who, five years ago, might have been an X-factor for them in this series. 

    The craziest part about this series is that right now, the Spurs seem poised to sweep despite how good the Thunder are.

    Tonight's game is huge.  

    If the Thunder win, we have ourselves a series.  But if they lose, the Spurs are on pace to be in the discussion for greatest team of all time.

    The last time the Spurs lost people weren't eating each others faces in the streets of Miami and no one knew what a Tupac hologram was.

    Here are five reasons why I think the Spurs will continue their winning ways. 

Gregg Popovich

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    Even before this series, Gregg Popovich had to be in the discussion of greatest coaches of all time right behind Phil Jackson and Red Auerbach.

    When Popovich talks, his players listen.

    This is much different than when a coach like Vinny Del Negro talks and Chris Paul and Blake Griffin just nod their heads and act like they are listening intently.

    Popvich just won his second NBA Coach of the Year Award and it looks like he is in line to get his fifth ring. 

    I'm discounting the coaching abilities of Scotty Brooks.  I think he is a very good coach but he is no Gregg Popovich.

    This season Popovich took a cast largely comprised of rookies and no-namers and now has them on path to be possibly the greatest team of all time.

    The Spurs have the upper hand with Pop on their side and it shows.

Russell Westbrook Is a Loose Cannon

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    Russell Westbrook is good.  He has the potential to be very good and his athleticism is through the roof.

    That being said, he shoots the ball too much and is all-around out of control.

    In game two, he played one less minute than Kevin Durant, took seven more shots, and finished with four less points.

    Keep in mind that Durant has won the last three NBA scoring titles.

    If the Thunder are going to win this series (or even win a game in this series) Durant needs to be the top dog.  Durant needs to take the most shots, Durant needs to make the most shots.

    I know I might be starting to sound a bit like Skip Bayless here but Russell Westbrook killed the Thunder in game one.

    Unless he chills out, the Spurs are going to sweep this series.

Kawhi Leonard Is Surpassing Expectations

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    Kawhi Leonard is the X-factor for this Spurs team.

    Clearly the Spurs couldn't do what they're doing if you took away Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker.  To be honest, I don't think they would be playing as well as they are if you took away Kawhi Leonard, too.

    The kid just keeps getting better.

    In the regular season he averaged 7.9 points per game and shot 37.6 percent from three point range. In the postseason he is averaging 9.3 points and 45.2 percent from three point range.

    Talk about rising to the occasion.  That is an amazing leap.

    Keep in mind, 14 teams passed on Leonard in last year's NBA Draft.

    Of course the Spurs drafted the unheralded rookie who is now playing a major factor in their attempt at an undefeated postseason.

    That's just what they do.

Kendrick Perkins Is out of His Element

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    "Donnie, you're out of your element."

    Probably one of the more memorable lines from The Big Lebowski.

    Time and time again, Steve Buscemi's character, Donnie, kept trying to join in the conversation and participate in what was going on but he was, plain and simple, out of his element.  He didn't belong.

    That is how I feel about Kendrick Perkins in this series.

    He just can't keep up with the fast pace of these games.  His own team, the Thunder, are too fast and athletic.  The Spurs are too efficient.  

    The Thunder have to play fast and athletic if they want a chance to beat to the Spurs. Perkins just isn't built for that. 

The Spurs Supporting Cast Is Too Good

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    The Spurs supporting cast is just better than the Thunder's.  

    Even when including James Harden, the reigning sixth man of the year who plays more minutes than the starter Thabo Selfolosha, the Spurs bench has outscored the Thunder's 90-77.

    If you sub James Harden out and replace him with Sefolosha, the Spurs' bench has outscored the Thunder's 90-37.

    The Spurs have a wide range of guys who hit shots when they are open.  Do that and you win games, plain and simple. 

    Boris Diaw, Stephen Jackson, Tiago Splitter, Matt Bonner, and Gary Neal are a huge reason why the Spurs are going to win this series.