Spurs' flow versus Thunder's one-two punch in West final

Fri May 16, 2014 4:54pm EDT
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By Larry Fine

(Reuters) - The San Antonio Spurs lost all four of their regular season games to Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder but a suspenseful, hard-fought series would be no surprise in their clash for the Western Conference title.

While Oklahoma City owns bragging rights from those head-to-head meetings, San Antonio owns the rings, having won four NBA titles in the glorious career of forward Tim Duncan and fallen just shy in last year's seven-game NBA Finals to the Miami Heat.

The ball-sharing flow of the top-seeded Spurs will once again be measured against the Thunder's one-two knockout punch of league MVP Durant and dynamic guard Russell Westbrook when the teams launch their series on Monday in San Antonio.

Durant, who won his fourth NBA scoring title this season with a career-high 32-point average, and the speedy, high-leaping Westbrook averaged 21.8 points to give opponents fits.

Oklahoma City are hungry for victory, eager for another chance at the NBA title after falling in five games to the Heat in the 2012 Finals.

The Spurs, meanwhile, deploy a deep bench to keep their core veterans such as Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili fresh and to keep pressure on the opposition with their motion and ball movement.

San Antonio posted a 62-20 record, three games better in the standings than Oklahoma City, who lost Westbrook for almost half the season after knee injuries.

An impressive six Spurs averaged double figures this season.   Continued...

May 14, 2014; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan (left) talks with Tony Parker (center) after a timeout against the Portland Trail Blazers in game five of the second round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports