A 15-point halftime deficit couldn't stop Kevin Durant and the rest of the Oklahoma City Thunder of their championship dreams. And after a 107-99 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night, the Thunder are now Western Conference Champions and will await the winner between Miami and Boston to battle in The Finals.
The Spurs, who were facing elimination, got off to a strong start thanks to Tony Parker who lead San Antonio with a team high 29 points, and sharp shooting from Stephen Jackson who hit six of seven from three off the bench. Tim Duncan also chipped in with 25 points and 14 rebounds, however, San Antonio struggled to find production elsewhere. Manu Ginobili made his second consecutive start and scored only 10 points on 4-12 shooting.
Durant lead the Thunder with a game high 34 points and also added 14 rebounds and 5 assists. Russell Westbrook added 25 of his own and James Harden finished with 16 off the bench. The Thunder rallied after losing the first two games of the series and won the next four to send Oklahoma City to their first Finals appearance since moving from Seattle.
The Celtics will look to do the same tomorrow, lose the first two games of their series to only rally and take the next four and advance to the NBA Finals. Whether it's Miami or Boston, they will have their hands full with this talented Thunder team. Durant, Westbrook and Harden can carry the load offensively while others like Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka can anchor the defense. Add in experienced vetrans like Derek Fisher and Thabo Sefolosha and the Thunder are a serious threat to bring home the hardware.
For San Antonio their season comes to a disappointing end. After making quick work of the Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Clippers, the Spurs won 10 straight playoff games and 20 overall before losing four in a row to the Thunder. Expect Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili to be back in a Spurs uniform next season and make another run at a championship despite their increasing age. It will be up to the youth of the team like Daniel Green, Kawhi Leonard, and Tiago Splitter to improve in the off-season and take a larger role next season.
The Thunder were the most dangerous team entering the playoffs, and despite being so young, were able to send home veteran teams such as the defending champion Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Lakers, and now the Spurs. Last year many questioned whether or not Durant and Westbrook could coexist as the Thunder fell in the Western Conference Finals to the Mavericks. It's been a different story this time around, with Durant and Westbrook each doing their job to put the Thunder on the brink of their first ever championship. TL;DR
The Oklahoma City Thunder advanced to the NBA Finals on Wednesday night with a 107-99 victor over the San Antonio Spurs.Spurs vs. Thunder Boxscore
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