Make no mistakes, this is a Kung Fu movie. The old masters looking for a last shot at glory. The young men searching for their spot under the Sun, trying to prove they belong with the big dogs. That’s what the Western Conference Finals will be about. Cliché, I know, but it will be experience versus youth, old school versus new. And it will be a beautiful thing to watch.
San Antonio won 2 out of 3 games in the regular season. All 3 games were sans Manu Ginobili and before Stephen ‘Whoo!” Jackson and Boris Diaw joined the team.
San Antonio’s main weapon has been The Tim Duncan Robot. The Big Fundamental woke up like he went back in time. Still, OKC’s frontline of Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins gave The Robot more troubles than rust.
Ibaka and Perkins held Duncan under his per-minutes average in all 3 games. Duncan shot poorly (43,8%). Still, Duncan made less than 15 points in 31 games this season. Their record in those games? 23-8. They don’t really need Duncan to win nowadays.
While TD goes toe to toe with Ibaka and Perk, Russell Westbrook and Tony Parker will be locked in a PG battle to feed the needy.
Russell is not your regular Point Guard. He has an unorthodox game and, when James Harden is in, he serves more as a Shooting Guard. Still, he is taking care of the ball, hitting mid range shots and hustling on D.
Russ will have his hands full with a more traditional PG in Parker. Parker runs this offense like a maestro, while Westbrook is OKC’s DJ. Parker will play every variation of the musical extravaganza that is San Antonio’s offense. He knows everything there is to know in Pop’s system and he will make sure you know that.
As far apart as they are, Manu and Harden are peas in a pod. Both are amazing players accepting a sixth man role. Both are starters trapped in bench players bodies. They know how to cut to the basket, create contact. They hardly make mistakes. And when they do, it’s by commission, not by omission.
Where does that leave us? Kevin Durant. Here’s where San Antonio doesn’t really have an answer to. Durant led OKC’s 3 headed monster and each of those heads scored well versus Pop’s crew. San An had problems defending the pick and roll. Guess what OKC loves to run for Kevin and Russ?
Oklahoma is, by far, the best offensive team San Antonio has faced in this Playoffs. Will that be enough for 4 Ws?
Only time will tell.
Meanwhile, let us all seat back and enjoy what will be a series to talk about.