The Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs will begin the Western Conference Finals this coming Sunday. The series is highly anticipated by itself but it’s starting to heat up some more now.
Tony Parker said that Russell Westbrook hasn’t had to guard a point guard like him yet in the playoffs. Parker said it’s not going to be like Dallas or the Lakers who have point guards that aren’t very aggressive.
Westbrook will have a bigger challenge in this series of course. Parker had one of the best seasons of his career and was even in the discussion for MVP.
But it’s not like Westbrook isn’t up for the challenge or know what is in store.
This is the biggest misconception with the Thunder right now. While all the talk is surrounding the Spurs and how great they have been playing lately, the Thunder are flying under the radar like they too haven’t made some huge improvements in these playoffs.
Parker torched the Thunder in the regular season including a 42-point game. He made Westbrook look bad. Westbrook had those moments in the regular season. Games where he was disinterested on defense and veteran point guards were able to take advantage of his over-anxiousness.
Westbrook and the entire Thunder team is much more locked in now in the playoffs. Remember when Westbrook had that shooting slump at the end of the regular season? That’s completely gone now and has everything to do with his focus because it’s the playoffs.
Westbrook has turned it up on defense too most notably shutting down Jason Terry in the first round. Now, Terry isn’t Parker but Westbrook literally didn’t let him touch the ball on possessions.
Westbrook has the tools to be one of the best defenders in the NBA and he is poised to become that as soon as this series. He knows his number one job will be containing Parker. The best athlete in the NBA is capable of doing it.
If Parker wants to say Westbrook hasn’t seen a point guard like him yet, the same goes the other way too. Parker has had to deal with Chris Paul but Westbrook is a different animal. The league has literally never seen a point guard like him before and he’s playing the best ball of his career right now.
At the end of the day, the Thunder and Spurs are going to have issues containing the other’s point guard.
The Spurs may be special but there are a few things that always happen for the Thunder. When Westbrook plays well, they win. He will against the Spurs and that’s going to be just as important as anything in this series.