A storm has been brewing during these Western Conference Finals... Although it is not a "Thunder" storm. Excuse the bad pun, but the series has been a bit of joke itself through the first two games.
Don't believe me? Just check out the scores:
Game 1: San Antonio Spurs Win 122 to 105
Game 2: San Antonio Wins 112 to 77.
The second game truly showed how much the Serge Ibaka injury hurts the Thunder despite them having the MVP Kevin Durant and All-Star Russell Westbrook.
Not only that but what if I told you that this isn't the first year that OKC has been crippled by injuries during playoff runs.
No, this is the third year in a row that this has happened to Oklahoma with the previous two injuries sustained by Westbrook.
In all three cases the remaining cast of the Thunder has not been able to tow the line when a key player goes down. This shouldn't be news to basketball fans though, Oklahoma has had this dilemma since they met the Miami Heat in the finals in 2012.
At that time, OKC's big three of Durant, Westbrook, and James Harden, who was a budding star at the time, faced the deeper Heat roster who won the series four to one.
Fast forward to 2014 and the Thunder have not truly addressed the issues of their past. Now without Harden (who is a Houston Rocket currently), Oklahoma has relied heavily on a big three of Kevin Durant, Westbrook, and Ibaka and the loss of the latter is really being displayed now.
If this doesn't send a clear message to OKC management, especially GM Sam Presti, that the idea of Michael Jordan era teams do not succeed in this day and age. The most successful teams on which Jordan won consisted of himself, Scottie Pippen, and Dennis Rodman with weaker role players surrounding the trio. And while this definitely inspired team makeups such as the Miami Heat (Lebron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh) and Oklahoma (at the the time Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden) the Heat have succeeded because they made wise decisions and surrounded their stars with solid role players.
Players like sharpshooter Ray Allen and Shane Battier and more recently Michael Beasley, Chris "Birdman" Anderson, and Toney Douglas.
If the Thunder ever want to truly win a championship or pose a threat for one, Presti will have to make key decisions and add depth to their bench scoring, and bolster the team. Because at this point and time they are, to put it bluntly, a glorified bubble team.
One who can win early playoff series but never challenge for a title against the true elite.
Game 3 will be the tell-all of this series, whether OKC can stand a chance or if the Spurs have their ticket stamped to the finals.
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