The last time we saw Kevin Durant, he was helping to pile on points in the deciding game of the Spurs semifinal series against the Thunder. Tonight we see him in the blue and gold of Golden State, probably more dangerous than he has ever been.
Even as the Spurs succumbed to injury, age, and missed shots by David West they still could rely on OKC being OKC. That is to say the Thunder — and here I mean Russ Westbrook — would go away from their bread and butter and make just enough mistakes to let another team back in.
That was the case in the Spurs series. SA was afforded enough chances to win, despite the Thunder fulfilling their potential for two playoff series.
Golden State famously blew a 3-1 lead against the Cavs, but before that had to overcome a 3-1 look themselves against those same Thunder. There are a number “reasons” for the Warriors’ combined 7 losses in two series, not least of which is the ankle injury to Steph Curry in the first round. Draymond Green famously got himself suspended for nut-punching, Andrew Bogut was hurt, etc. Beyond those was the dissappearance by Harrison Barnes — the weakest link in the Death Lineup.
He has been replaced by Kevin Durant. OKC’s poor ball-movement was one of the only things that slowed him down when he was not injured and here he is, playing for the best-passing team in the league.
I was not confident in the Spurs’ chances against GSW in the Western Conference Finals. (Then again I thought the Cavs had no chance). The Spurs could slow down the Warriors enough to hold them below their regular pace, scoring, and FG% averages, but GSW put the clamps on our guys, too.
I figured the GSW series would look something like OKC G6, wherein Kawhi Leonard exhausts himself trying to be both offense and defense for the squad. Unfortunately, that is essentially what we will see tonight.
GSW is even more stacked, and the Spurs, despite the healing of LMA, are still hurting. Danny Green is out. Even if his shooting touch has not returned, he still was effective defensively. He blocked Steph Curry last season, remember?
Any replacement is no where near his level defensively, and maybe brings more offensively. Given the lineup — Pau, LMA, KL, and Parker — a shooter to spread the floor is the perfect fit. But on the other end only KL, and maybe LMA have the athleticism to stay with the ridiculous speed and quickness GSW has.
Goldent State is an 8.5 favorite at home. I think they cover. Go Spurs Go