Found June 05, 2012 on Fox Sports Southwest:
SAN ANTONIO Pickup basketball is the best basketball, with king of the court rules prevailing and someone always hollering about "Who's got next?" And for a long time, we applied this thinking to the NBA. "Who's got next?" was a question we asked yet thought we already had an answer to, an answer provided by The Decision and affirmed by a promise of " not five, not six, not seven " The answer was LeBron. Kevin Durant and his young and talented Oklahoma City teammates were a year away at least. They were not quite ready. It was not their turn. "We just never thought we were supposed to wait our turn," KD said Monday when presented with this line of thinking. "We always wanted to go and take everything." And this is exactly what the Thunder did in a 108-103 victory against San Antonio in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals, exactly what Durant did, what James Harden did by banging down a monster victory-sealing 3-pointer, what all of them did when they did not fold (at least not all the way), when they took Manu and Pop and San Antonio's best punch and, though staggered, walked away with a victory anyway. Oh, it is on, LeBron. And depending on how KD plays this out, he could close whatever (if any) gap exists between you and him in the race for who's next. My friends and I were having this very debate early Monday. Was there anything Durant could do in these playoffs to surpass LeBron as the best player in the game? I was arguing yes, though not adamantly, based on what I have witnessed for three rounds in these playoffs. Durant has delivered game-winning shots, leadership and W's. My friend defended LeBron, though also not adamantly, on the theory that hauling around Dwyane Wade is tougher than doing so with Russell Westbrook. This is infinitely more debatable after Monday. What we all agreed upon was who was in the conversation LeBron or KD? Into this debate jumped Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, entirely accidentally. "He's arguably the best player on the planet," Popovich said of KD. He barked when asked if this was a vote in KD versus LeBron. And this may have been a coaching ploy, as Durant humbly submitted when told afterwards of Pop's praise. "He's trying to fire up his team a little bit, as well, to get underneath me (Monday)," Durant said. But Popovich has been around a long time and seen countless challengers Dallas and Dirk, LA and Kobe and now OKC and KD. What he sees in Durant is a guy whose time quite possibly has come. "These guys are hard to guard, talented, hungry and athletic," he said. "They're in the Western Conference finals and they're a hell of a basketball team. I don't know what else to tell you." It was Pop who in Game 1 was yelling at his team about how nobody said this was going to be easy. This has become somewhat of a mantra of these playoffs, repeated by Erik Spoelstra as recently as Wednesday. This is not exactly true, though. LeBron intimated it would be easy when he guaranteed multiple rings. In fairness, he was not counting on KD and OKC being ready yet. Few of us were. How do you know when you are ready? Better question: How do you declare it? You do what Durant did when San Antonio made a run to start the second half. The Spurs were trailing by eight, done in by their own turnovers and sloppy play. They are also champions down here in San Antonio and everybody in the building sensed this was not how they were going out. And they opened with a run, a Manu Ginobili-fueled push back into Game 5. It was at this moment that Durant asserted himself. With the Thunder suddenly down six, Durant drained a 3-pointer, then a driving lineup. He is why they escaped that run, and the San Antonio runs that followed. They had the Spurs on the ropes at least four times, done in by Tony Parker's erratic play and Tim Duncan's age and just general lack of ball safety. OKC still has a Russell Westbrook problem. He has stretches of brilliance, and his line from Game 5 certainly looked tantalizing. He had 23 points and 12 assists. Yet when the wheels started coming off, Westbrook was the one steering. He was forcing shots, turning the ball over and very much had Parker in his head. That they did not break under the weight of Westbrook is a testament to how unwilling they are to wait. In the final moments, with San Antonio having cut what had once been a double-digit lead to two and the shot clock winding down, Harden recognized the planned play to Westbrook was not happening. He had to shoot. And into this moment, he launched a 3-pointer. It was a playground shot. It was good. It won a game and delivered a message. This was the Thunder saying, "We've got next." It was a huge road win, setting up a Game 6 in OKC on Wednesday with a win sending them to the NBA Finals. Oh, it's on, LeBron. And KD does not believe in waiting his turn. He is coming to take everything. He's got next.

Rewind: Kevin Durant Explains Why He Wears 35

For those who don’t remember the story of why Oklahoma Thunder star Kevin Durant chose #35, here’s the explanation he gave to ESPN. 35 is the age his former coach was when he was tragically killed trying to break up a street fight. In the video, Durant describes what his coach meant to him and how he encouraged him over the years even when he didn’t believe himself.

Thunder may have long reign in West

OKLAHOMA CITY Kevin Durant hugged his mom in celebration and the game wasn't even over yet. The once-mighty Spurs had 14 seconds left to play, but Durant knew the situation. The rest of us did, too. It was over. That was Wednesday night and that was when the Thunder took down San Antonio, culminating a four-game win streak in the six-game Western Conference finals with a 107...

Kevin Durant hugs family as Thunder advance to NBA Finals (Video)

Just before the Oklahoma City Thunder were about to win game six of the Western Conference Finals and head to the NBA Finals, star Kevin Durant decided to hug his family who were sitting courtside. It might be one of the most touching moments of the NBA playoffs so far:

Thunder ready to be crowned kings of the West

OKLAHOMA CITY After a Game 5 win, Thunder forward Kevin Durant said he and his team never felt like they had to wait their turn in the NBA's version of Game of Thrones. Maybe Durant's right. There's no hierarchy in the Association, at least since Michael Jordan retired and left the many kingdoms of the league to muddle over the aristocracy. Heading into this season...

Durant Goes Wild, Ibaka Was Perfect And Thunder Even Series With Spurs

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Thunder top Spurs for spot in NBA finals

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Kevin Durant had 34 points and 14 rebounds while playing all of regulation for the first time all season, and the Oklahoma City Thunder claimed a spot in the NBA finals by beating the San Antonio Spurs 107-99 on Wednesday night. Russell Westbrook added 25 points for the Thunder, who trailed Game 6 of the Western Conference finals by 18 in the first half and...

Thunder rally past Spurs into Finals

Kevin Durant had 34 points and 14 rebounds while playing all of regulation for the first time all season, and the Oklahoma City Thunder claimed a spot in the NBA finals by beating the San Antonio Spurs 107-99 on Wednesday night. 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...

Thunder Experience "Changing of the Guard" in Western Conference

    5 years ago, Kevin Durant heard his name called at the NBA draft, number 2 overall to the Seattle Sonics. In the time that has passed, the baby faced, mama's boy, 6'9" forward has turned into a 3 time scoring champion. His team has become exemplary for other NBA teams that wish to build through the draft. Young, fast, athletic and talented, the Thunder look...

Thunder defeat Spurs on road, take 3-2 lead

SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Kevin Durant scored 27 points and the Oklahoma City Thunder are on the brink of the NBA Finals, beating the San Antonio Spurs 108-103 in Game 5 on Monday night and moving within a victory of a series knockout. Russell Westbrook added 23 and the Thunder took a 3-2 lead in a wildly entertaining Western Conference finals. Looking invincible while carrying 20-win...

Thunder have chance to make this year their turn

Is Oklahoma City growing up before our eyes? Is this the Thunder's time? The answer to both questions could come as early as Wednesday. "We never just thought that we were supposed to wait our turn," Kevin Durant said after Monday's 108-103 win in San Antonio. "We always wanted to go and take everything. "Coach always emphasizes that every opportunity...

Spurs' season comes to disappointing end

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - For the San Antonio Spurs, a season spent building greatness unraveled almost in an instant. From 20 straight wins to four consecutive losses, from 18 points up to behind when it counted, the Spurs saw it all wash away too fast. Kevin Durant had 34 points and 14 rebounds while playing all of regulation for the first time all season, and the Oklahoma City Thunder...

Highlight plays from Thunder’s win in game 5

Who would have thought that after losing the first two games that the Oklahoma City Thunder would be beat the San Antonio Spurs three games straight? That is exactly what happened with the Thunder’s 108 to 103 victory in game 5 at San Antonio. Now, the Thunder have a chance to close out the Spurs in game 6 at Oklahoma City. The Thunder are unbeatable at home this...

Back to square one

Contrary to reaction on Twitter and various media outlets, the Oklahoma City Thunder didn't take advantage of the Western Conference Finals.  They simply kept their season alive.  After going down 2-0, there was no way the Thunder could afford to lose.  Going down 3-0 or 3-1 would certainly have made coming back against the San Antonio Spurs without the benefit of home court...

Thunder 107, Spurs 99

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Oklahoma City Thunder are headed to the NBA Finals. Kevin Durant scored a game-high 34 points with 14 rebounds, Russell Westbrook added 25 points and James Harden scored 16 off the bench to lead the Thunder to a 107-99 win over the San Antonio Spurs in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals to win the series 4-2. It's the Thunder franchise's first...

Tuesday With Tink

This year’s conference finals provide us basketball fans with an age old matchup; The Young Guns versus The Veterans. Let’s step back, anyone recall the 92’ NCAA tournament? The “young and immature” Fab Five from Michigan vs. the experienced Duke Blue Devils. Grant Hill and Christian Laettner came out on top in a demolition of the Wolverine’s “Young Guns” . There...
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