Thunder- Spurs Showdown at the OK Corral

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( — June 1, 2014) Tampa, Florida

Aside from the incredible athleticism displayed by these players, I was most impressed with the poise and ability to execute and perform at such critical times and pressure.  Within the NBA world, there exists its own drama and vignettes of life that we hang our hats on.  A return to the Finals of 2013 when the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs duked out a seven game series that was in the palm of San Antonio’s hands, only to see it escape into Miami’s trophy case, shall be the stage of next week’s 2014 Finals.


What is most fitting is that as gifted as the superstars are at this pinnacle of professional sports performance as this might display, it is still a team sport and it is that team which embraces that notion best is who wins.  Individual talents are clearly important, but blending those talents into a recipe for successful winning and consistency is the real magic.  Older and wiser as San Antonio might be versus the aerial death defying individual acts of Oklahoma City tells the entire story. 

I could not help but think of the Wild, Wild West in a gunfight where the quickest draw was always left standing, however sooner or later, there was always a faster, more talented gun in town.  OKC has the fast guns but it is the posse that eventually wins.  There are just too many other guns and weapons that they cannot fend off.  San Antonio artfully spreads the floor, passes, and sets up plays that run OKC into their web that eventually enables them to take the shots they want and taking on a lot less risk in so doing. 

In watching Russell Westbrook, clearly one of the most gifted basketball players to walk on the court, and certainly this year’s MVP, Kevin Durant, play together is “death defying”, yet still not good enough.  Reminiscent of Michael Jordan in his ‘90’s hay days and as individually talented as he was, it wasn’t until his team came together and his ability to incorporate their talents with his, did his championship stardom arrive.   

Now the key ingredient points at masterful coaching where Greg Popovich is regarded as one of the greatest coaches of all time, has taken his canvas and painted the masterpiece with all of his colors and brushes on his palette to produce this Spurs team.  Scott Brooks has also done an amazing job, returning to this level of playoffs consistently for the past four years.  But now, Brooks and OKC must make those core adjustments and changes and trades if necessary to get the ring.  Deeper role players and bench performers always seem to be the answer that bails out the superstars and enables their ability to shine and survive the marathon contests. 

It is the obvious choices for shot selection that gets over shadowed by the role players that emerge with performances that are not so obvious. This is the next major conundrum that OKC and Scott Brooks must conquer in order to make their June date with destiny on this stage.  

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