If you followed Wednesday’s Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals on Twitter, you watched the jubilation of Spurs fans turn to lamentation in a matter of minutes. Some of my friends were beginning to explore flight options to San Antonio for a Game 7. The large halftime lead evaporated in the blink of an eye, and the young Oklahoma City squad punched its ticket for the NBA Finals to await the Heat or Celtics (Game 6 is Thursday night).
What looked to be a storybook run for the Spurs crashed hard … and quickly. The 2-0 series lead and 20-game winning streak, talk of where Gregg Popovich and Tim Duncan rank in the game’s history, looking ahead to a Finals matchup with LeBron James and his big three or the Celtics and the big four and such, all of it dissipated. And it happened in horrific fashion.
Fans and pundits were looking forward to a Game 7 after Tony Parker exploded out of the gate with a huge first quarter and Stephen Jackson shot the lights out. The Spurs ultimately extended their first-half lead to 18 points.
But Oklahoma City wasn’t done. Durant played a full 48 minutes and scored 34 points while grabbing 14 rebounds. Russell Westbrook added 25 points on 9-for-17 shooting, but the highlight reels on Wednesday night and Thursday morning were filled with Derek Fisher coming up with huge shots. Yes, Derek Fisher hearkened back to his days with the Lakers and hit several big shots down the stretch to keep the Spurs at bay. Every time Tim Duncan (25 points) spun to the basket and scored on James Harden, the Thunder had a response.
A date with the Heat or Celtics is on tap for the youthful Thunder. When’s the first dynasty column to be written?