The San Antonio Spurs are the hottest team in the NBA. Not only have they swept through the first two rounds of the 2012 NBA Playoffs, they have not lost a game since April 9, a span of 18 games.
With an aging team of veteran leaders, and young utility bench players, coach Greg Popovich masterfully used the short NBA Season to his advantage. While most teams try to tighten up their depth rotation to about eight players by the postseason, the Spurs have been using every player on the roster. They have 10 players with at least 12 Minutes Per Game, and the results are indisputable.
Since this has been the strategy since the season began, their young role players are playing with confidence, and their aging veterans look healthy and energetic. The Celtics, by contrast, are another aging team, but despite their postseason success, look tired, weathered, and many of the veterans are running on nothing more than adrenaline at this point.
Players Used Per Game
For Remaining Playoff Teams
Although the Spurs have coasted through their first two rounds, they face a much more formidable opponent in the Western Conference Finals. The Oklahoma City Thunder have looked very impressive thus far, besting very talented squads in the Mavericks and Lakers.
While the Spurs are operating like a well-oiled machine, the Thunder have offensive weapons that will give San Antonio matchup problems. Durant, Westbrook, and Harden have scored at will. Ibaka and Perkins are two physical big men that can wear down Duncan, creating better shot opportunities for Kevin Durant.
Regardless of your laundry affiliation, this is the Must-Watch series in this year's playoffs. Whoever survives this series will be in the driver seat for the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy.
- Kevin Aherne