Oklahoma City wins series 4-2
|Game 1: Sunday, May 27th|
|Recap »Boxscore »|
|Game 2: Tuesday, May 29th|
|Recap »Boxscore »|
|Game 3: Thursday, May 31st|
|Recap »Boxscore »|
|Game 4: Saturday, June 2nd|
|Recap »Boxscore »|
|Game 5: Monday, June 4th|
|Recap »Boxscore »|
|Game 6: Wednesday, June 6th|
|Recap »Boxscore »|
9:00 PM ET, June 6, 2012
Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK
And now, he's one big step closer to making his basketball dreams come true.
Durant had 34 points and 14 rebounds while playing all of regulation for the first time all season, and the Thunder claimed a spot in the NBA Finals by beating the San Antonio Spurs 107-99 on Wednesday night.
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Russell Westbrook added 25 points for the Thunder, who trailed Game 6 of the Western Conference finals by 18 in the first half and erased a 15-point halftime deficit before pulling ahead to stay in the fourth.
"It's an amazing moment for him to play like this in this moment, in this setting, and I wasn't going to take him out," Brooks said.
"I was not going to take him out. I don't care how many times he looked at me fatigued. He has enough, and I think all of our guys have enough to play. You just have to fight through it."
Durant grabbed the final rebound, dribbled the ball across half court and raised his right fist to celebrate with a sold-out crowd wearing free white T-shirts. The franchise will play for the NBA title for the first time since 1996, before relocating from Seattle.
Even before the final buzzer, Durant indulged by hugging his mother and brother seated courtside after a foul was called with 14 seconds remaining.
"I never want to take those moments for granted," Durant said. "I know it's just one step closer to our dreams, but it felt good."
Tony Parker had 29 points and 12 assists for San Antonio, but only eight of the points and two assists came in the second half.
The Thunder outscored the Spurs 59-36 after falling behind 63-48 at halftime and getting a challenge from Brooks that he said had "nothing to do" with committing eight turnovers against only six assists while allowing San Antonio to shoot 9 for 15 on 3-pointers.
"It just had everything to do with who we are as men, who we are as a team, the type of spirit that we want to show every time down the court," Brooks said. "It was all about that, about body language, about being a family. I thought our guys did that the first possession of that second half and they did not look back."
In the process, the Spurs pushed past Oklahoma City for the best record in the league and home-court advantage in the playoffs. But the Thunder took that back by winning Game 5 in San Antonio on Monday night.
"There's not much to complain about," San Antonio's Manu Ginobili said. "We had a great run. We just couldn't beat these guys."
The Thunder, only three years removed from a 3-29 start that had them on pace for the worst record in NBA history, went through the only three West teams to reach the Finals since 1998 -- Dallas, the Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio -- to earn their shot at the title.
Game 1 of the NBA Finals will be Tuesday night in Oklahoma City against either Boston or Miami. The Celtics lead that series 3-2 and can earn a trip to the Finals with a win at home in Game 6 on Thursday night.
The Thunder took the lead for good early in the fourth quarter, getting nine of their first 13 points on free throws as the fouls started to pile up for San Antonio -- six on the defensive end and three on the offensive end in the first 7 minutes.
Even Durant drew what he thought was his first charge of the season, stepping in front of Ginobili.
Derek Fisher and James Harden hit 3-pointers in a three-possession span to increase the lead to 99-93 with 3:13 remaining. Jackson, who had made his previous six 3-pointers, and Parker both missed 3s that would have gotten the Spurs within 103-102 in the final minute.
The Spurs put up quite a fight, at least for the first half.
Parker, who had been largely bottled up ever since the Thunder put 6-foot-7 defensive specialist Thabo Sefolosha on him in Game 3, had a hand in the Spurs' first 12 baskets, making seven on his own and assisting on the other five.
Kawhi Leonard and Jackson followed his three-point play by nailing back-to-back 3-pointers for a 34-16 advantage in the final 2 minutes of the first quarter.
"I told the coaches that I could go all night, I could go 48, and I didn't think they would let me do it," Durant said. "But they kept me in and I just tried to give my team a spark."
The Thunder stormed back with an 11-2 run to start the third quarter and eventually pulled ahead after Durant's 3-pointer from the top of the key made it 79-77 with 1:41 left in the period.
San Antonio missed nine of 11 3-pointers in the second half.
"The third quarter, it was like playing in mud," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "So, that was our downfall as much as anything."
Popovich, whose request for his team to play nasty led to T-shirts being made in San Antonio, said at the morning shootaround that his team needed to play "with a little bit of ugly." Not nasty? "I was trying to stay away from that word," he said. ... San Antonio had a 29-28 edge in the second quarter after getting outscored 138-106 in the period in the first five games -- dropping more than six points per game. ... Greg Willard was initially scheduled to be one of the three officials but pulled out due to illness. Rodney Mott replaced him, alongside Joe Crawford and Bill Kennedy.
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - JUNE 6: Fans arrive early to see the match-up between the San Antonio Spurs and the Oklahoma...(Photo by Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
Team Stat Comparison
|FGM-FGA||37-84 (.440)||36-72 (.500)|
|3PM-3PA||11-26 (.423)||10-18 (.556)|
|FTM-FTA||14-18 (.778)||25-31 (.806)|
|Fast Break Points||10||16|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||24 (1/0)||18 (0/0)|
From Elias: the Spurs are the 4th team in the current playoff seeding format (since 1983-84 season) to have back to back 1 seeds and not advance to the NBA Finals. The Chicago Bulls also joined this list this year after getting ousted in the 1st round by the 76ers.[+]
After winning 20 straight games over a period of 48 days, it all came a part in the span of a week for the San Antonio Spurs. In losing the last 4 games of the series to the Thunder - their only 4-game skid of the season - the Spurs had a near total reversal of the numbers they put during their 20-game win streak.[+]
San Antonio Spurs - Last 24 Games (Including Playoffs)
In Game 6, Tony Parker set personal postseason highs in field goals made and attempted (9-of-14) inside 10 feet of the basket this postseason, but continued to struggle from distance. Parker was 3-of-13 (23.1 percent) from 10 feet and beyond, including 0-of-7 in the second half. Parker shot under 30 percent from such distances over the last four games of the series.[+]
Tony Parker Shooting From 10+ Feet - Western Conference Finals
The Thunder continued to limit the Spurs' pick-and-roll offense in Game 6, allowing 19 points on 8-of-20 shooting on such plays (3-of-10, 6 points in 2nd half). The Spurs scored over 20 points on pick-and-rolls just once (Game 5) in the last four games of the series after scoring 30 in each of the first two games.[+]
Spurs Pick-and-Roll Offense
Kevin Durant scored 25 points on 11-of-13 shooting (84.6 percent) when coming off screens in the last four games of the Western Conference Finals, including 9 points on 4-of-5 shooting in Game 6. In the first 11 games of the postseason, Durant had scored 30 points and made a total of 13 field goals when coming off screens (56.5 percent shooting).
The Thunder shot 15-of-25 (60.0 percent) from inside 5 feet in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals, with a notable uptick in production from that range in the second half (10-for-14, 71.4 percent). The Thunder shot at least 57 percent in the last four games of the series after shooting below 47 percent in the first two games.[+]
Thunder Offense Inside 5 Feet - Western Conference Finals Game 6
Kevin Durant played all 48 minutes for the Thunder. It's the first time in his playoff career he's played every minute of the game. But he'll have plenty of time to rest - Game 1 isn't until Tuesday night.
Tony Parker finished with 21 points and 10 assists in the first half. At least going back to 1996, no player has had 20 points and 10 assists in a half of a playoff game. In fact in that time period, the most points a player had in a playoff half where he had 10 assists was 16 by Jason Kidd in 2000.
With 7 FG, 5 assists and 2-3 at the free throw line, Parker has scored or assisted on all of the Spurs first 25 points. Of the Spurs first 12 FG, Parker made 7 of them and assisted on the other 5.
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