The Conference Finals already got going on Sunday afternoon, as the Miami Heat fell to the Indiana Pacers on the East’s side. Things finally get going one day later out west, as the Oklahoma City Thunder travel to San Antonio to take on the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs.
Probably one of the biggest keys to this game was going to be Serge Ibaka’s impact as a defender and shot-blocker down low. However, with a calf injury taking him out of this series, Tim Duncan, Tiago Splitter and Boris Diaw may operate as they please inside the paint.
If that happens, the Spurs are obviously going to hold a major advantage. That advantage weighs into this matchup even more with the first two games of their seven game series coming at home.
With that said, the Thunder still have some true toughness and tenacity in the likes of Steven Adams and Kendrick Perkins and could still make life difficult for San Antonio’s bigs.
On paper, though, the way for the Thunder to beat the Spurs is for Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook to come out afire from the start. They’ve lost a key mid-range shooter and a defensive specialist, so for OKC to have any chance in winning this series, their top two guys need to be even more aggressive and also step it up on the other end.
Luckily for the Thunder, Spurs point guard Tony Parker (hamstring) isn’t 100% and Manu Ginobili is coming off of a rough second round series. If Parker can’t get back to full strength in time, Westbrook might go nuts on San Antonio’s backups. In fact, he might do it, anyways.
For now, the Spurs have all of their guys and are at home, so we’ll give them the nod to get this series rolling.
Pick: Spurs 104, Thunder 102