How The West Was Won. Wednesday night at the Chesapeake Energy Arena, the OKC crowd was rocking and ready for their team to pull away with a must win game 6 victory. However, the Thunder initially didn’t come out with that energy to match the crowd. Before game 6, Gregg Popovich inserted Manu Ginobili into the starting lineup for the 2nd game in a row with Daniel Green little to no opportunity to play once again. Tony Parker was just outstanding in the first quarter scoring 17 points and dishing out 5 dimes. The Spurs had led by as many as 18 in the first quarter with OKC going 5 minutes without a single field goal. In the last minute of the first period, the Thunder would erase the 18 point lead to 14 from a pair of free throws by James Harden and last second corner jump shot by Derek Fisher. In the 2nd, San Antonio hit 6 three-pointers, 3 of which made by veteran Stephen Jackson. OKC would hit a big jump shot to pull them closer to single digits but San Antonio answered back almost every possession retaliating with a score of their own to keep the lead intact. Down by 18 again, Kevin Durant would hit a buzzer beater three-pointer to bring his team to within 15 at the half. In the 3rd quarter, Kevin Durant would lead his team back in the game cutting San Antonio’s lead. Just shortly after the 2 min. mark, Durant would hit a 3 at the top of the key over Stephen Jackson to give OKC their first lead of the game. Before the start of the final quarter, the Thunder were down only by a point outscoring the Spurs by 14 in the third. With their huge rally in the 3rd quarter, OKC just went on a tear to end San Antonio’s nightmare series outscoring them 27 to 18 led by James Harden. San Antonio had 34 points in the first quarter and had only 36 total in the 2nd half largely contributed to the disappearing acts by both Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker.
Young, Inexperienced, Not Ready, Not Tested, Not Anymore.
Oklahoma City has had an incredible playoff run thus far sweeping Dallas, defeating the Lakers in 5 and then overcoming a 0-2 deficit to upset San Antonio. The Mavs, Lakers, and Spurs have won 10 out of the last 13 NBA Titles and with the come from behind win over San Antonio, there should be no more questions whether this team is elite or can compete for an NBA Title. The game 6 victory for the Thunder marked the 4th loss in a row for San Antonio after previously winning 20 straight dating back to the regular season. Kevin Durant finished as the player of the game and series of course scoring 34 points and grabbed14 boards. Russell Westbrook contributed 25 points and James Harden chimed in 16 shooting 3 for 4 from long distance. Tony Parker had a Spurs high of 29 points and 12 assist, but only scored 8 points in the entire 2nd half. Manu Ginobili had his worst game of the series going 4-12 from the field only scoring 10 points while Tim Duncan had 25 points with 14 boards. The biggest player for the Spurs last night was Stephen Jackson as he hit 6 three-pointers scoring 23 points with 6 of 7 shooting. If this is the end for San Antonio’s big 3 with Tim Duncan’s imminent retirement announcement looming, they’ve had a great run winning 3 of the last 9 NBA championships together and have been in contention every year for an NBA title the last 14 years. The Thunder who finished the regular season with better records over Miami and Boston, now have the privilege of waiting until Tuesday night to host the winner of the Eastern Conference Finals in game 1 of the NBA Finals. The Thunder now head to the NBA Finals for the first since 1996 after relocating from Seattle and clearly the best team left now in the playoffs. If they end up playing the Celtics, Derek Fisher (who’s been a Celtic rival the last 5 seasons) and Kendrick Perkins (who was traded from Boston in exchange for some cocoa bread and an EBT card) will have more incentive to play harder with issues stemming from the past. If it’s the sexy match-up that everybody wants; Durant and Westbrook will have the most incentive to prove to the entire world that they’re the best back-court tandem in all of basketball, not LeBron and Wade.
The NBA Finals are set to begin Tuesday on ABC with a tip-off set for 9:00 pm (ET).
Win Or Go Home.
Thunder Win 4-2
Game 1: San Antonio 101, Oklahoma City 98
Game 2: San Antonio 120, Oklahoma City 111
Game 3: Oklahoma City 102, San Antonio 82
Game 4: Oklahoma City 109, San Antonio 103
Game 5: Oklahoma City 108, San Antonio 103
Game 6: Oklahoma City 107, San Antonio 99
Bonus: Durant, Westbrook After Game 6 Victory--