The Oklahoma City Thunder may be down two games to none against the defending Western Conference champion San Antonio Spurs, but there is certainly no reason to panic. Sure, getting blown out by 35 points in Game 2 is a cause for concern. However, the Thunder have been in this exact position before against this very team. If Oklahoma City can emulate their performance from the 2012 Western Conference Finals, they will be just fine.
“We’ve been here before,” NBA MVP Kevin Durant said, according to ESPN. “That’s all we can say. We try not to say since we were down 0-2 two years ago and we end up winning, we’ll do the same thing. We’ve really got to figure it out on how we need to get better, and we’ve always done that.”
The Thunder reached their first NBA Finals in 16 years by overcoming a two-game deficit against the Spurs. However, to simply say it will happen won’t be good enough. This Oklahoma City team has a higher mountain to climb for several reasons.
For starters, San Antonio is well aware of what happened two years ago. That series is fresh in their minds and they have no interest in having that horrible feeling again. The Thunder also lack the explosive power of James Harden, the 2012 NBA Sixth Man of the Year, off the bench. Harden’s presence was a huge difference maker. To make matters worse, power forward Serge Ibaka, who was a force around the basket during the 2012 Western Conference Finals, is out with a calf injury this time around.
Even though the Thunder are in a similar boat, there is plenty going against them. The good news for them is that they do have the star power and athleticism to overcome the aging Spurs. In fact, it is the latter that Oklahoma City must use to their advantage, especially since San Antonio is lacking in that area. If the Thunder can come out swinging and soar high as they usually do they will turn this year’s Western Conference Finals into another instant classic.
It is easier said than done, but Durant and Russell Westbrook are the key. Unfortunately, the Spurs know that, which means they will force the Thunder to win other ways. Thankfully, Durant and Westbrook are too talented to let a team keep them down for long, especially on as big of a stage as they currently sit.