Bob Gambert, Jeff Garcia and Paul Garcia participate in a roundtable discussion on the Western Conference Finals presented by Project Spurs.
I’m most intrigued by the Tony Parker vs. Russell Westbrook matchup, specifically. Jeff and Paul both tackled the matchup.
“Parker has a favorable matchup this series because the Thunder really aren’t that good at defending the pick-and-roll,” Paul said. “They haven’t seen a guy like him. But also on Westbrook’s side, he is a very dangerous scorer. Parker’s had his way with him this year but he’s led the Thunder in scoring five times through the playoffs. The Spurs might also have to resort to Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard on him. Westbrook can really present a problem. The one thing the Spurs want to do with him is make him be the shooter not Durant or James Harden.”
(Westbrook shot 41% on midrange shots according to NBA.com/Stats. Sigh.)
Jeff explained why Westbrook has more pressure to excel in this matchup considering Oklahoma City’s relative lack of depth at point.
“I think there is more pressure on Westbrook than there is on Parker. Who’s going to steady the Thunder attack – an old Derek Fisher? Parker, on the other hand, has a guy off the bench like a Gary Neal, a Manu Ginobili, who can handle the ball. Let’s face it, Derek Fisher, his best years are past his prime. Let’s hope he doesn’t have another 0.4 moment on us in this series.
There is going to be a lot more pressure on Westbrook to come out and prove that he can handle Tony Parker especially after the comments and the naysayers that believe he had an easier time (against Jason Kidd and Ramon Sessions).”
As for their series predictions? Paul picked San Antonio in five games and Jeff picked San Antonio in six.