San Antonio is done, and the Tim Duncan era may be as well
By Suave Francisco
What a series by the Oklahoma City Thunder. Coming into it, only a few people, including myself, of course, thought they'd push past the San Antonio Spurs to reach the Western Conference Finals. Even most of the national media thought San Antonio would win in either six, or seven games. Actually, a couple people said the Spurs would win in five. Of the national media, Chris Broussard, and Charles Barkley seemed to be the only ones that picked the Thunder in six games. It's pretty obvious what happened here, OKC indeed won in six! 113-99 was the final score, and it wasn't that close. They led by as many as 28. It took a late run and Tim Duncan giving everything he had in what was expected to be his last game for the Spurs to cut the lead down in the fourth quarter, making this look like a closer game.
Before that run, Oklahoma City's defense played about as well as they have through the majority of the series. The difference was their offensive game. Everything seemed to click. Dion Waiters didn't have the game head coach Billy Donovan expected him to have, but Andre Roberson had one of the better games of his Thunder career, scoring 14 points, off 5-8 shooting, 3-5 from three and also collecting seven rebounds. Note: Before this game, Roberson averaged 0.8 points in the series. He's strictly been a defender. Seeing him make it look easy was a bit complexing, but I think the Thunder will take it, and run with it. Steven Adams isn't much of a surprise, to be honest. He's been playing great here lately, he's grown immensely throughout his career and especially this series. Specifically this game, he scored 15 points and pulled down 11 rebounds. Sounds pretty typical for him as of late, but his efficiency should be highlighted. 6-7 from the field, can't get much better than that! He's become crafty around the rim, and seemingly catches, and makes everything thrown his way. He even had a good night at the free throw line, shooting 3-4 from there.
Of course, when the team has games like this, that typically means either Russell or Kevin had a great game. Tonight, both played great, combining for 65 points off 22-45 shooting. When these guys hit anywhere around half of their shots you can typically chalk it up as a win.
Tim Duncan tried to push his team towards victory late in the game, but it just wasn't enough and although Serge Ibaka didn't have the best game he could've had, he came in clutch with the pressure defense against Tim Duncan in a crucial moment that may have given the Spurs more fuel to change the outcome of the game.
Greg Popovich on if this was Duncan's last game.
That win just knocked the San Antonio Spurs out of the playoffs once again. A disappointing ending to a franchise best (67-15) record this season. Next up for the Thunder is the Golden State Warriors, the best NBA team in history, based on their record of course. Monday will be the start of the Western Conference Finals. Oklahoma City will need to carry this momentum, with an almost completely different gameplan into this next series.