It’s surprising that such a compelling matchup like this is so early on in the playoffs.
The San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder are two teams that are synonymous with winning. It seems as though in the last half decade or so, one of these teams is very likely to end up representing the Western Conference in the NBA Finals.
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This is the 3rd playoff meeting between these two squads. They previously met in the Western Conference Finals in 2012 and again in 2014.
The first matchup had the Thunder winning 4-2, and the second matchup flipped the script as the Spurs rode to victory 4-2.
Both of these teams enter this series well aware that they can end up losing significant pieces from their lineup next year. Kevin Durant is set to become a free agent, and he could very well end up leaving the only franchise he’s ever suited up for.
The Spurs have played this season clouded with the reality that this could be Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili’s final seasons. Although it hasn’t affected the team’s performance, the existential crisis that ensues when two players who’ve epitomized Spurs’ basketball for over a decade and a half are seemingly on the way out is surely a lingering presence in the locker room, even if nobody dares speak directly about it.
Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge have become the most important players on this team from a production standpoint, but guys like Duncan, Ginobili, and Tony Parker still embody the soul of this team, as they helped build this winning culture that has prolonged in San Antonio.
Game 1 of this series will set the tone for what’s sure to be a fantastic battle between two teams with different variations of an uncertain future.
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