As elimination games often are, the Oklahoma City Thunder beating the San Antonio Spurs in game 6 of their conference semifinals series was anticlimactic.
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook combined to score 65 points on just under 50% from the field, not needing anything special from their bench, while Andre Roberson (14 points) and Steven Adams (15 points) helped make a big difference, while the Spurs mostly looked overwhelmed that things have gotten to this point.
The Thunder led by 27 points midway through the third quarter before the Spurs chipped away at that lead, but never really put it in any danger, falling down 113-99 in the end. Who would have guessed we’d see the Thunder take over the series like this after the game 1 blowout?
Kawhi Leonard scored 22 points and LaMarcus Aldridge finished with 18. Duncan played what might have been his final NBA game, and did it well. Tony Parker disappointed with just six points. Nothing came from the bench, including David West, who gave up on a lot of money to try and win a championship in San Antonio. Boris Diaw, the game changer the Spurs relied on so much, didn’t even play. It was something of a whimper in the end, instead of some epic battle to avoid going home.
Every time the Spurs lose in a playoff series, it feels like an ending to more than just this specific season. It feels bigger, sadder, especially this time.
An ending to what? This refers to the Spurs. Yes, Tim Duncan scored 19 points and the Spurs looked good later in the game when he was on the floor, but for most of this series, his offense wasn’t there. It wasn’t supposed to be there, but the failure of Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili to create the penetration the Spurs offense relies on so much doomed them. Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge weren’t at their best, but it has more to do with the basketball system failing than the two of them disappointing.
The Thunder move forward trying to give Durant a reason to stick around and maybe finally fulfill that promise of winning an NBA championship. The pending doom & gloom everyone predicted for them doesn’t seem so realistic now. Durant and Westbrook seem to have fun playing next to each other and after a lot of struggles, Billy Donovan finally looks like he has a clue of what the f*** he’s doing. Gregg Popovich? He wasn’t at his best in this series too, knowing moving on means injecting more young blood into this team, even if it means saying goodbye to legends.