UNLUCKY BREAK: Russell Westbrook is out indefinitely and the offseason may come for the Thunder sooner than they'd like. Photo courtesy Sports Illustrated

UNLUCKY BREAK: Russell Westbrook is out indefinitely and the offseason may come for the Thunder sooner than they’d like. Photo courtesy Sports Illustrated

It was one of those perfectly-designed covers that makes Sports Illustrated so great. Kevin Durant, front and center, surrounded by a powerful quote of his on how he’s tired of being second.

Well, be careful what you wish for, Kev, because the cover curse may have just sunk your chance at even returning to the NBA Finals.

Let me first say I don’t fully buy the Sports Illustrated Cover Curse. With more than 50 issues per year, there’s simply too many cases that refute the concept behind the jinx. I mean Kate Upton was on the cover of the swimsuit issue? Last I checked, she hasn’t broken a leg in a freak photo shoot accident.

But the timing of this incident is just too good. The SI cover in question made it to the vast majority of its readers via that mail and newsstands some time on Thursday. That means that the edition was “put to bed” as the journalism world calls it a couple days before. So, when you put it altogether in a cumulative timeline here’s what happens: The SI staff finishes up the issue, Russell Westbrook goes down in Game 2 Wednesday night, The newest edition of Sports Illustrated is delivered to readers and retail sellers, The Thunder confirm Westbrook has a torn meniscus and is out indefinitely.

Kevin Durant SI CoverSpooky, huh?

So now the question becomes what happens next on that timeline, Saturday night, in Game 3? With a 2-game lead, it’s still a safe bet the Thunder will dispose of the Rockets. But what if Houston wins Game 3, and then another, and finds a way to extend this series to six or seven games, it’ll wear on Oklahoma City more than they’d like it to for the opening round of the postseason.

And what about next round? I picked the Clippers to stun the Western bracket and knock them off. Without Russell Westbrook? I like that pick all the more. Of course, Memphis could still eliminate L.A. in six or seven in which case THEY would play a Thunder team missing their star point guard.

It’s all a little too soon to piece together right now, but the hill for Kevin Durant to NOT finish second (whether it be in the West or the entire NBA) just became all the steeper. I said at the end of the regular season that if Miami stayed healthy they were a shoo-in for the title. Now, with perhaps their biggest threat down one of THEIR biggest players (not literally, obviously), that prognostication seems all the more likely.

It’s sort of like what the great Michael Scott of Dunder Mifflin once said. “I’m not superstitious, but I am a little stitious.” Curses, for the most part, belong in fairy tales and Westeros. But every once in a while, when something THIS good happens, it makes you wonder if jinxes do exist.

And, for a moment, you question whether any team really ever controls their own destiny.

NOTE: This story was originally published on SportsHead. To read this article and others click here.
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