The top two seeds in the western conference meet tonight in Texas to start their best of seven conference finals. The Oklahoma City Thunder will take on the San Antonio Spurs in what is expected to be one of the best matchups in this year’s playoffs. San Antonio comes into the game with an 18-game winning streak, while Oklahoma City is 8-1 SU thus far in the playoffs.
The Spurs have been the league’s hottest team over the past two months and have three savvy, experienced veterans who will lead them onto the court. Tim Duncan has won four NBA titles for the Spurs and is healthy and fresher this year since he played less minutes during the regular season. Tony Parker led the team in both scoring and assists and scored 42 against the Thunder back in February. Manu Ginobili is an excellent three-point threat and is exceptional on defense.
The Thunder also has three players who are key to their success. Kevin Durant led the league in scoring, averaging 28 points per game and rebounds nearly 10 per game, as well. Russell Westbrook is the on-court general for the Thunder. He averaged over 24 points per game during the regular season. James Harden will be the Thunder’s third scoring threat and plays very good defense.
The series will feature the young upstart Thunder with Durant, Westbrook and Harden all not older than 23, against the older Spurs who have Duncan 36, Ginobili 34 and Parker 30.
This season the Spurs were 2-1 SU against the Thunder and since 2009 are 8-2 SU against Oklahoma City. The Spurs led the league in three point shooting percentage at over 39%, but against the Thunder shot an incredible 52% from the three-point line this season.
The current line has the Spurs as the favorite by 5 ½ points after opening at 5. The total is sitting at 204 ½. In game one, take the Spurs less the points, as they will run the Thunder off the court to set the tone for the series. Smart money bettors will also take the OVER, as this will be a high scoring series.