Corporate Knowledge: Final previews

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Zach Lowe at The Point Forward: “Know this going in: If you are picking the Thunder to win, you are relying on trends and developments that haven’t yet happened. And that’s fine! Things change, teams improve, coaches tweak rotations and the state of basketball at any given time is never identical to what it was a day or a week or a month ago. The Thunder are young and growing, and picking them based on the notion that they have another gear to unleash on San Antonio is perfectly rational.”

Sebastian Pruiti at Grantland: “So far in the playoffs, neither the San Antonio Spurs nor the Oklahoma City Thunder have been truly tested. But when they face each other in the Western Conference Finals, I’m expecting that to change for both teams. They both score efficiently, but in polar opposite ways. As I’ve written about before, San Antonio relies on their perfect execution to get into the lane, make extra passes, and get the best shot possible. Oklahoma City, on the other hand, relies on their talented shooters. We can expect this to be a high-scoring series, and there are two key play types — one for each team — that could determine the direction of this series.”

Kevin Pelton at Basketball Prospectus: “As this series unfolds, I think there are a couple of interesting storylines to watch. The first, as sprinkled throughout the scouting analysis, is how much smallball we see. The Thunder rallied behind a smaller lineup the last time these teams played, but the Spurs should be better equipped to match up small with Ginobili in the lineup. On March 16, Popovich stuck with Matt Bonner at power forward, which meant a tough defensive matchup for Bonner. In this series, Popovich can play Ginobili with San Antonio’s starting wings and get three capable defenders and shooters on the floor around Parker and Duncan. Will Brooks then go away from Durant at power forward? If so, will Popovich force the issue by taking a big man off the floor?”

  • Stijl

    If the Thunder play small ball of Westbrook, Sefolosha, Harden, Durant and Ibaca the Spurs can counter with Parker, Ginobili, Green, Leonard and Splitter.