It's the series we all desperately wanted, a true heavyweight match between royalty and royalty-in-waiting.
It's the series most of us believe will be the most compelling remaining, perhaps a greater matchup than the eventual Finals, likely featuring the Heat and one of these behemoths.
Aside from the New York Knick fan predisposition to root passionately for the team most likely to provide unmanageable obstacles for the Miami Hate (it's almost worth changing the name, such is the prevailing emotion among most Knick fans), it's a series in which to revel unbiased at the magnificent basketball talent on hand. On face value, the Spurs appear unbeatable. They're a well-oiled machine that makes so few mistakes, coach Popovich calls a timeout, perhaps from shock, if they commit one just one. They move the ball with laser-like precision, penetrating the lane, and distributing to a multitude of three-point shooters on the perimeter. No rotation can find these players before they launch from beyond the arc. Tony Parker is a magnificent orchestrator, and Tim Duncan is steady these days, if unspectacular. Manu Ginobli always appears to be one step from a sprained ankle, but is remarkably efficient. And the Spurs' bench can defeat most teams in the league by themselves.
The Thunder, on the other hand, are simply explosive and, at times, unstoppable. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook form the nucleus of a team rising apace. During their recent series with the more experienced Lakers, they withstood some difficult moments to overcome, survive and advance. Oklahoma City, however, does bring an Achilles Heel to the dance, and it's their half court offense, a weakness you know the Spurs will work to exploit. The Lakers did so effectively and had the Thunder on the ropes on a few occasions.
San Antonio hasn't lost in so long, and when they did, Duncan, Ginobli and Parker didn't play. Dominant, poised, and outstanding - Spurs in six.
Glenn Vallach has been a basketball fan, player, and coach during his lifetime and, as such, an ardent follower of the NBA even with all its warts. He have also been a New York Knick fan since the days of Howie Komives and Walt Bellamy, when he regularly boarded the IRT Subway at 180th Street in the Bronx for a trip to the Garden to see his heroes.
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