OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma, June 7 – The Oklahoma City Thunder won their fourth straight game over a seven-day stretch Wednesday to reach the NBA finals with a come-from-behind 107-99 victory over the San Antonio Spurs.
Kevin Durant finished with 34 points and 14 rebounds and Russell Westbrook added 25 points as the Thunder rallied from a 15-point halftime deficit to stun the Spurs and capture the Western Conference title.
“This is the toughest game I have played since I have been here,” Durant said. “I am glad we got this for Oklahoma City.”
For much of the contest it appeared the series was headed to a game seven with San Antonio looking poised and controlling the play.
“We didn’t want to go back to San Antonio. (At halftime) we told our team to leave everything out on the floor,” Durant said.
San Antonio were undefeated since April 11 before losing game three in Oklahoma City. That defeat snapped a 20-game San Antonio win streak and began a momentum shift.
James Harden came off the bench to score 16 points and Serge Ibaka had 10 for the Thunder, who will meet the winner of the Boston and Miami series for the NBA championship.
The Celtics lead that series 3-2 and can wrap it up with a win Thursday at home.
“(An) amazing moment for him to play like this in this moment, in this setting. I wasn’t going to take him out,” Oklahoma City head coach Scott Brooks said of Durant.
Oklahoma City advances to their first NBA finals since 1996 when they were based in Seattle and called the SuperSonics.
It proved to be too tall an order for the Spurs to try and come back against a younger and more athletic Thunder team.
“In many ways this group may have even overachieved. I couldn’t be more satisfied with their effort and what they have done this season,” said Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich.
Tony Parker, of France, finished with a team-high 29 points with 12 assists and Tim Duncan added 25 points and 14 rebounds for the Spurs who just a week ago looked unbeatable and hadn’t lost in 50 days. It marks the first time all season long San Antonio had lost four straight.
Parker had the hot hand in the first half but made just four-of-13 shots in the second half.
“It is very disappointing,” Parker said. “We are all sad. Right now I am just thinking about the game. It is going to take some time to process it.”
Stephen Jackson compiled 23 points with six three-pointers for the Spurs, who were the first team to lose a home game in the series.
During the lockout shortened regular season, San Antonio won two games and lost once to the Thunder. Oklahoma City beat the Spurs 108-96 in their first meeting of the season in January. The Spurs won the next two, 107-96 and 114-105.
The Spurs and Thunder rivalry goes all the way back to 1982 when the Thunder franchise was based in Seattle. This was the first playoff meeting between the two since Seattle moved to Oklahoma four years ago.