We live in the age of “Hyperbole” when actual events very rarely live up to the expectations. It is especially true in the world of sports, where an off day can spoil can turn what was promoted of the battle of the ages; can easily turn into a one-sided rout. Injuries are another factor, as we saw far too often this season in the NBA; as the loss of Derrick Rose for the Chicago Bulls while the Orlando Magic lost center Dwight Howard, causing both teams to head home for the summer after the opening round of the Post Season.
There are times however, when everything falls the right way and we get to enjoy a Playoff series that reminds why we fell in love with the game of basketball to begin with. One of those match-ups will begin on Sunday night as the San Antonio Spurs host the Oklahoma City Thunder for game one of this year’s Western Conference Finals.
This series has the potential to be the most exciting match-up in the Playoffs this year, with the club that survives having a very good chance of winning this year’s NBA Finals. It will be a battle between a veteran club hoping to capture another Title while their core is still intact; going up against a talented up and coming squad, that will most likely be in the NBA Championship mix for the next few years.
Although the difference between the two opponents are obvious, the two franchises share a few similarities as well. Both clubs play in small markets, proving that a team does not have to be in New York or Los Angeles to be able to be a legitimate contender in the Association. The Spurs have built their team through the NBA Draft, a blueprint that Oklahoma City has followed over the past few years to put them in their present position.
San Antonio and the Thunder are both coached by passionate and fiery men who truly know the game. Gregg Popovich has been in San Antonio for years and is greatly responsible for all the success the squad has had over the years. Scott Brooks, was a tough scrappy player during his days in the Association and he has instilled that mind-set into his club.
Both teams are also blessed to have players as their go-to guy that prove their worth with their actions on the hardwood; instead of with their words and are respected throughout the Association. The only time Tim Duncan draws attention is by what he does on the court and Kevin Durant so far has emulated his example during his career in the NBA.
Two fundamentally sound teams who play the game the right way will begin their battle on Sunday night; hopefully the match-up will extend to a full seven games and take away any lingering bitterness that fans of the Association may have developed during the Lockout.