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When I saw the breaking news headline that Oklahoma City Thunder's point guard Russell Westbrook would be out indefinitely with a torn meniscus, I had two thoughts simultaneously: What a heartbreak for OKC, and what an interesting new dynamic in the Western Conference.
After this strange twist of fate, many began to claim the Spurs as the new favorite to represent the West in the NBA Finals. And although the second-seeded Spurs will certainly surprise no one if they make it there, the road is still anything but easy.
Right now, San Antonio has its hands full dealing with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, the latter going 8-for-9 from beyond the rainbow in Wednesday night's 100-91 Warriors victory.
The Spurs displayed a few troubling signs during the loss in Game 2, where they once again found themselves chasing the Warriors' tail most of the night. A lack of their usual pristine ball movement hampered their offense and they seemingly had no answer for Golden State's trigger-happy guards.
If San Antonio wants to make it past this round, they will need to bring heightened intensity and maybe make a few shots of their own, after going 35 percent from the floor in Game 2.
Supposing the Spurs pull out of this round, they will be facing a defensive juggernaut in the Memphis Grizzlies, or a familiar foe in the Kevin Durant-led OKC Thunder, both of which have handed San Antonio playoffs defeat.
The Grizzlies boast one of the most intimidating frontcourts in the league and stifling defense. The Thunder, though without Westbrook, still have KD, youth and a taste of the NBA finals they'll be aching to revisit.
But hey, this is the playoffs, and it's not supposed to be easy. Like the ancient proverb states: "It's a long way to the top, if you wanna rock n' roll."