(Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO (WOAI) The San Antonio Spurs will play the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference Finals.
The Thunder advanced to the finals after eliminating the Los Angeles Clippers last night.
Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals will be Monday night in San Antonio. Tipoff is scheduled at 8 p.m.
Game 2 will be in San Antonio on Wednesday, with Games 3 and 4 in Oklahoma City on Sunday and Tuesday.
If needed, Game 5 would be back in San Antonio on Thursday, May 29th, with a possible Game 6 in Oklahoma City on May 31st and Game 7 in San Antonio on June 2nd.
Meanwhile, point guard Tony Parker has a Grade 1 strain of his left hamstring and is listed as day-to-day.
Parker had an MRI exam on Thursday, one day after leaving Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals against Portland with the injury. A Grade 1 strain is considered the least severe of the three grades, so the Spurs appear to have avoided what would have been a devastating injury to their best player.
Parker had a Grade 2 strain in the NBA Finals last season, but was able to play through the injury.
HOW THEY GOT HERE:
The Spurs beat the Dallas Mavericks in the first round 4-3 and then beat the Portland Trail Blazers in the second round 4-1.
Thunder beat the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round 4-3 and then beat the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round 4-2.
WESTERN CONFERENCE CAPSULE:
(AP) No. 1 SAN ANTONIO SPURS (62-20, 8-4) vs. No. 2 OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER (59-23, 8-5)
Season series: Oklahoma City won 4-0. Both teams were missing key players at different points of the season series, so it's hard to draw too many conclusions. But the Thunder's athleticism certainly stood out. OKC grabbed 23 more rebounds in the four games and had an average margin of victory of 9.3 points.
Story line: The rematch. These teams, which have been the most consistently successful squads in the West over the last five seasons, squared off in the 2012 conference finals. The Spurs jumped out to a 2-0 lead, but OKC ripped off four wins in a row before losing to Miami in the NBA Finals. All told, the Thunder have won 10 of the last 12 against the Spurs, bringing the latest in a long line of doubts about San Antonio's ability to stay on top.
Key matchup I: Kevin Durant vs. Kawhi Leonard. The league's MVP meets one of the NBA's rising young stars in Leonard, the unflappable third-year swingman who relishes a challenge. The 6-foot-7 Leonard will be asked to defend one of the most unguardable players in the league, but he has had some success against Durant in the past.
Key matchup II: Gregg Popovich vs. Scott Brooks. Popovich has won coach of the year honors two of the last three seasons. and is widely considered the game's best coach. All Brooks has done is win at least 50 games in four of the last five years and lead the Thunder to the finals in 2012. But he is often criticized when the offense stagnates and could still be on the hot seat if Oklahoma City falls short this season.
X-factor: Reggie Jackson. The Thunder guard averaged 21.3 points on 68 percent shooting against San Antonio in the regular season. "If anybody watched our games, they watched Reggie Jackson basically be the Spur killer every time we play them." - Popovich.
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