On Monday night, the San Antonio Spurs will face a test that will decide if they are truly ready for a encore appearance in the NBA Finals this year. The test will be in the form of the 2014 NBA Most Valuable Player Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder. Despite the success of the Thunder against San Antonio this season, the Spurs have the formula to solve this problem.
Oklahoma City has all the reason to believe they have what it takes to come away victorious in this series. They just proved their resiliency in the face of adversity in their hard fought series with the Los Angeles Clippers, they have the “Mr. Unreliable” (who is very reliable to say the least) and they swept the season series against the Spurs this year.
All those accolades may sound great on the surface, but San Antonio is not at all phased by any of they paper matchups. The fact that the Spurs have not defeated Oklahoma City this season can be explained by the number of injuries they suffered throughout those four encounters. The Spurs now have everyone ready to go and this time will be very different.
Although Russell Westbrook and Durant are capable foes, the Spurs’ bench will be the kryptonite that can prevent the Thunder from a their second finals appearance. The Portland Trail Blazers found out all too well that the bench of San Antonio is a difference maker. Patty Mills, Marco Belinelli and Manu Ginobili will are too much of an offensive threat for the Thunder’s unreliable bench to match.
While many will be looking forward to the series being decided by the starters of both teams, it will be the bench play that decides the next Western Conference champion.