The Golden State Warriors and the Oklahoma City Thunder meet in game one of the Western Conference Finals tonight for a shot to face either the Cleveland Cavaliers or the Toronto Raptors in the NBA finals.
By all accounts, this is a titanic matchup. Of course, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are likely to be at the forefront of most spectators' minds, and rightly so.
But there are many, many factors that will ultimately decide this heavyweight encounter and we're going to take a look at five key things that will see one of these franchises take a shot at immortality.
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Andrew Bogut Vs Steve Adams
This isn't the most glamours matchup, but it is a pertinent one none the less.
The Warriors are more readily associated with perimeter shooting, but how do you think they get so many open looks? How do they have so many possessions every game? Bogut's expert screens and decent rebounding keeps the Warriors' finger on the pulse.
The 31-year-old Australian is listed as doubtful for game one with an adductor problem, and that probably leaves Festus Ezeli to take on the Thunder's 22-year-old Steve Adams at the pivot.
Adams has steadily improved in every category during his three years in the NBA and the Kiwi is fast challenging Serge Ibaka as the third man of the Thunder.
Stephen Curry's fitness
This kind of goes without saying: the fitness of the back-to-back and now unanimous MVP will be crucial to the outcome of this series. It doesn't need much more elaboration, does it?
Well, here's a little anyway. Curry has been dealing with niggling injuries during the postseason thus far and while it was a troublesome ankle at first, now a sprained knee doesn't appear to be getting better.
The point guard has stated that while his injury hasn't gotten worse, it hasn't gotten better either. Of course, a 100 percent Curry is preferable for the Dub nation when combatting Westbrook, but the 28-year-old's exploits against Portland in the last round seem to indicate that he can still operate pretty damn well in his present condition.
Draymond Green's temper
The Warriors' franchise record holder for triple-doubles has four technicals so far in the playoffs, and seven would land him an automatic one-game suspension.
Green's influence on this Golden State team is palpable with his energy and drive that many of his peers struggle to contend with. His triple-double ratio just shows what an all-around competitor he is and not only is he vital on the defensive end, but he rallies his teammates, too.
As is the case with many passionate players, however, his enthusiasm and zest for the game can sometimes get him in trouble. If Green was to lose his cool and miss a game, that could be the window that the Thunder need to take this game in seven.
The chip on Russell Westbrook's shoulder
Durant has long been the star of the Thunder and Curry is basically the superstar of all basketball. More poignantly, though, Curry operates at the same point guard spot as Westbrook and by virtue of his many personal accolades and last year's NBA ring, he's arguably better than Westbrook.
But the California-native doesn't see things that way. In fact, since Durant went down with a long injury last year, Westbrook has been playing like a man possessed trying to prove to the world that he is good enough to lead a franchise.
He currently leads the NBA in triple-doubles and is coming off an outstanding series against the San Antonio Spurs. If Curry isn't at full health, the explosive Westbrook is ruthless enough to make him rue that knee.
Billy Donovan's playbook
Scott Brooks' dismissal last year could have been construed as harsh by many onlookers, considering he was deprived of his star forward, Durant, for the vast majority of the previous campaign.
However, Billy Donovan and Monty Williams have stepped up to the plate and continue to do a mighty fine job. Hell, they just got the better of the great Gregg Popovich in the last round.
A call by Donovan seemed crucial to that victory: his decision to play Enes Kanter and Steven Adams together after they’d hardly done so in the previous seven months, helped the Thunder dominate on the glass against the Spurs.
He'll need a different gameplan against the Warriors, as they space the floor a whole lot more. Going big might not get the job done, but you can bet Donovan - who claims to have learned a lot of his skills from Pop - will have something in mind that will.