Along with The CDP doing aces on the Miami Heat keys to victory in the Finals, we’ve dispatched our main man Thunderstolt to look at the OKC side and determine what the keys to victory are. Keep in mind that this has been edited, as he’s barely slept, can’t eat and quite frankly, is barely a human being right now. This is him at his most serene, probably the result of some sort of placebo. As the title of the post says, earlier today his first message to me was “I’m kind of freaking out.” Peace be with you, brother. Let’s get to it!
He saw this coming. From the moment he told Clay Bennett he would be his GM, Sam Presti saw this as his vision. His vision has brought them to within four wins of raising a banner.
Presti has done his job. Now its time for Scott Brooks and his staff to finish theirs for this 2011-2012 season. The good news is the Thunder doesn’t have to change much from the previous three series to be successful in the Finals.
It seems fitting the first championship foe ever for this Thunder squad is against the Heat – after the next two weeks either KD or LeBron will have a ring and a banner to raise this fall. Soak that one in.
Other than that quick little hit, I going to stay away from the obvious KD vs LBJ narrative because I’m pretty sure 99% of the blogosphere is writing about that (My thoughts on that matchup: The two best players in the league going at it for their first title and we’re in for a hell of a series. That cover it? Okay, good). So let’s stick to basketball, shall we? Presenting the Thunder’s keys to victory.
As I mentioned in my last post for MAMBINO, Westbrook has evolved as a player not only throughout this lockout shortened regular season but over the last 15 playoff games as well. He has kept his foot on the gas pedal when need be, but surprsingly has pulled back to get other guys involved as well. His defense in the playoffs has been underrated, relentless and most importantly, he is finding ways to contribute to wins other than the stat sheet.
This could be a big, BIG series for Russ. Westbook has been a sponge in these playoffs not only from what his coaching staff is telling him but from opponents as well. In my four years of watching the Thunder play, I don’t think I have ever seen Russ use a screener more than once in a set. Against the Spurs, they ran him ragged through screen after screen as Tony Parker used the same big man to find a crease in the defense. You know what happened? Russ threw it back right at ’em and started using his big men to use a screen two or three times until he saw daylight to drive to ball and either find a slashing big man or shooter in the corner.
More than likely Chalmers will start on Westbrook to start the series but that could have disasterous ramifications if they stick with Mario too long. Westbook will see Chalmers, Wade, LeBron, Battier and anyone else who Coach Spoelstra thinks can slow him down for stretches. Russ must keep doing what he has been doing and playing with poise and composure. He has been fantastic at picking his spots thus far and they need him to continue that for the Thunder to make the final step. Plus, the idea of Westbrook having more shot attempts in the Finals and Thunder winning would make Skip Bayless’ head explode (so America wins, as well as OKC!). Depending on what the Heat defense gives him, that could be a reality.
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