Game 1 Preview: Thunder at Spurs
Game 1 of West finals tip off Monday 8 p.m. at AT&T Center
Tony Parker will be in the lineup when the San Antonio Spurs open the Western Conference finals against the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday.
Parker suffered a hamstring injury in Wednesday's series-clinching victory over the Portland Trail Blazers in the conference semifinals but participated in practice on Sunday and pronounced himself ready afterward.
The Thunder won all four regular-season meetings with the Spurs but will be without valuable power forward Serge Ibaka (calf) for the series.
Oklahoma City standout Kevin Durant posted nine 30-point outings while averaging 31.4 points during the first two rounds of the postseason and is hoping to lead the Thunder past San Antonio in the conference finals for the second time.
Oklahoma City, which is the West finals for the third time in four seasons, defeated the Spurs in six games in 2012 to reach the NBA Finals for the lone time since the franchise relocated from Seattle.
San Antonio swept the Memphis Grizzlies in four games in last season's conference finals before falling to the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals.
The Spurs are hoping their vaunted veteran trio of power forward Tim Duncan, guard Manu Ginobili and Parker will hold up for another dash to the finals.
TV: 8 p.m. Central Time on TNT.
ABOUT THE SPURS: Parker addressed San Antonio's problems with the Thunder this season on Sunday and expressed that the club's ball movement has to improve.
"We need to execute a lot better, because against them you can't go half-speed," Parker told reporters. "You have to go full speed and we have to be perfect because they are younger than us and they're more athletic than us, so everything has to be more perfect."
San Antonio will also be looking for another strong series from small forward Kawhi Leonard, who averaged 17 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.8 steals and made 9-of-17 3-point attempts in the five-game series against Portland.
ABOUT THE THUNDER: Beating the Spurs without Ibaka will be a challenge and rookie Steven Adams and veteran Nick Collison will be asked to plug the gap.
It is a huge hole to fill considering Ibaka averaged 14 points, 11.5 rebounds and four blocked shots during Oklahoma City's season sweep of San Antonio.
Adams played 40 minutes in the series-clinching victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday, posting a double-double of 10 points and 11 rebounds as he displayed that he can do more than be an antagonist.
Collison averaged 11.2 minutes during the first two rounds of the playoffs and could double that amount against the Spurs.
1. Each of Oklahoma City's four regular-season victories against the Spurs were by six or more points, including two double-digit wins.
2. San Antonio reserve SG Marco Belinelli is averaging just 5.9 points in the postseason after putting up 11.4 in the regular season.
3. Thunder PG Russell Westbrook is averaging 26.6 points, 8.4 assists and eight rebounds in the postseason.
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