OKC’s path to a championship will be absurdly difficult. They’re a great squad, but in the Western Semis, they’ve got to beat San Antonio. In all likelihood they’ll take on Golden State in the Conference Finals, and will almost certainly be squaring off against Cleveland for the League Finals in June. But that’s all then, and right now the Thunder are focused on their Texan opponent. The Spurs are a well-oiled machine, but it’s not impossible for OKC to walk away with a series win.
The answer is Kevin Durant. Even though Westbrook runs the floor like no other, and really proved his versatility and awareness on the court during Durant’s injury-plagued season a few years back, KD is really the one that has to click. As Deadspin’s Tom Ley points out, San Antonio does it’s best to make zero shots easy for the opposition. As good as Westbrook is, on a good day for San Antonio the Spurs can shut him down. But Durant? That’s a different story. At 6 feet 11, it’s hard to get a hand in his face or contest a jumper— there just that many guys that can match up at the size difference. If the Spurs are swarming Westbrook and Durant, but the former can continue to read the floor, get good looks, and create shot opportunities for his teammates (especially Durant), then it really shouldn’t matter what kind of defensive schemes they try and run. Durant will just shoot over whoever.
Westbrook acknowledged the game three loss was his fault: he took too many shots, and said that if they’re going to win he needs to get everyone involved. By “everyone”, fans really hope he meant “Kevin Durant”. Either way, it’s becoming obvious that the Spurs are not a team one man can beat.