As though a San Antonio 20 game winning streak meant nothing, the OKC Thunder collected their fourth straight win over the Spurs on Wednesday night to punch their ticket to the NBA Finals. Oklahoma City had an answer for everything in the second half of this game, taking the victory 107-99 in front of a euphoric crowd at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Tony Parker was sublime in the first half of this game amassing 21 points and 10 assists, leading the charge and giving his team a 15 point lead at the main break. But it was all Oklahoma City in the second half as stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook led the Thunder to the big dance.
Durant finished the game with 34 points, 14 rebounds and five assists on 9 for 17 shooting. A simply heroic performance for the Thunder’s main man who along with Westbrook set the tone for the second half with high energy play after high energy play. Durant hit shots from everywhere in the second half, including one of the most effortless 27 foot triples you’ll ever see.
Westbrook and James Harden combined for 41 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists in this one, playing the perfect combined Robin role to KD’s Batman.
The San Antonio Spurs were disappointing in the second half as they looked rushed and disorganised to say the least. All of the ball movement tricks that they had played on everyone to this point dried up and they were left hanging on by an “I make love to pressure” night from Stephen Jackson. “Captain Jack” was on fire from deep, connecting on 6-6 from the arc before a rushed one in the dying moments of the game ruined his perfect night.
Tim Duncan played a solid game for San Antonio but the Spurs went away from him for too long in the second half, seemingly trying not to fatigue him. While Manu Ginobili had an excellent playoff run, he was sub-standard in this game shooting 4-12 from the field including 2-8 from the arc. His tendency to shoot from outside compounded the Spurs’ Parker problems in the last 24 minutes of the game.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was extremely classy in defeat, likening OKC’s run in this playoffs to a “hollywood movie script” having beaten nothing but former champions on the way to the Finals. With either Miami or Boston next on the hit list, the trend just may continue. One thing’s for sure, the challenge sure will.
Oklahoma are peaking at the perfect time and now have their eyes on a championship.