Spurs vs. Thunder: How they match up in NBA playoffs second round

Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, Tim Duncan

Forward Kevin Durant (35) and the Thunder will have their hands full against forward Kawhi Leonard (2), Tim Duncan and the Spurs when the Western Conference semifinals begin on Saturday.

(Sue Ogrocki / Associated Press)

NBA playoff preview for the Western Conference semifinals:


First round defeated Memphis, 4-0.



First round defeated Dallas, 4-1.

Season series: 2-2.

Key stats: The Spurs have the top-ranked defense in the postseason, holding the Grizzlies to 81 points per game and they had the best three-point shooting accuracy (47.1%). The Thunder were first in scoring in the playoffs, averaging 112 points against the Mavericks, and ranked fourth in total rebounds (47.2) and offensive rebounds (13.6).

Outlook: This series offers the quiet, stoic, championship mettle of the Spurs with their curmudgeon coach, Gregg Popovich. Meanwhile, the Thunder’s athletic roster is led by the primal-screaming Russell Westbrook and suddenly technical-foul-prone Kevin Durant (eight in the regular season). Both teams have the potential to win the NBA championship. The Spurs may lean more on forwards Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge, but their foundation is built on ball movement, spacing, defense and team play. Oklahoma City relies on the supreme one-on-one abilities of Westbrook and Durant. Leonard and Durant are two of the best small forwards in the game, and their matchup is worth watching. That’s why this series will be so entertaining.


Prediction: It’s a tough one to pick, but the Thunder in 6.

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