Basketball / Sports

NBA playoff preview: Spurs vs. Thunder

A look at how San Antonio and Oklahoma City match up in the Western Conference finals.

San Antonio

62-20 (Home: 32-9; Road: 30-11)

Oklahoma City

59-23 (Home: 34-7; Road: 25-16) Season series: Oklahoma City, 4-0.

Key stat: In the four games preceding his removal after 10 minutes because of a strained left hamstring Wednesday against Portland, San Antonio's Tony Parker had averaged 23.0 points and 6.5 assists.

Outlook: Oklahoma City has been a bad matchup for the Spurs, who were swept in the regular-season series and lost the final four games of the 2012 conference finals to the Thunder after taking a 2-0 lead. The loss of Oklahoma City's Serge Ibaka for the series because of a strained calf changes the dynamics of the matchup, though Thunder rookie forward Steven Adams has played well enough in the playoffs to lessen those concerns. Parker is expected to play in the series opener Monday despite the hamstring injury that forced him out of the Spurs' series-clinching victory over the Portland Trail Blazers. Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant has scored 25 points or more in 12 of 13 playoff games, but teammate Russell Westbrook has not been as reliable. Westbrook has made only 27.9 percent of his three-pointers in the playoffs, which hasn't stopped him from hoisting 5.2 shots per game from beyond the arc.

Prediction: San Antonio surges past the Thunder thanks to smarter play and the absence of Ibaka. Spurs in seven.

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