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OKC Thunder climbs back into Western Conference Finals

The Thunder defeated the Spurs 102-82 on Thursday, extending their lead past 20 points in the second half.
by Ryan Aber Published: May 31, 2012

The Oklahoma City Thunder climbed back in the Western Conference Finals with a 102-82 whipping of San Antonio inside the Chesapeake Energy Arena on Thursday night.

As the Thunder extended their lead past 20 points in the second half, the crowd of 18,203 inside exploded, clapping along with noisemakers with every Kevin Durant jumper or Russell Westbrook layup as Oklahoma City pulled the series to 2-1 in favor of the Spurs and snapped San Antonio's 20-game winning streak.

The Spurs had not lost since April 11.

Before the game, the crowd was substantial as TNT's pregame show broadcast from in front of the arena. Charles Barkley rode to the set on a horse and was joined by Gov. Mary Fallin, who presented him with a set of cowboy boots.

But when the action started inside, there was no massive crowd gathered during the game along “Thunder Alley.”

A few people gathered around a television showing the game from the TNT set before it was dismantled early in the second half.

Angie Milligan and Debbie Knight, both of Oklahoma City, sat in lawn chairs in front of the screen that, through the first two rounds of the playoffs, broadcast the games inside to an ever-growing throng of fans.

The watch parties were canceled after a shooting in Bricktown after the Thunder's May 21 series clinching win over the Los Angeles Lakers.

Eight people were shot in the incident.

Milligan said that shouldn't deprive Oklahoma City of the communal outdoor experience.

“There were people of all ages and backgrounds down here enjoying the games,” she said. “I think it's hurt a lot of low-income families that couldn't afford tickets but wanted to be part of it.”

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by Ryan Aber
OU Athletics Reporter
Ryan Aber has worked for The Oklahoman since 2006, covering high schools, the Oklahoma City RedHawks, the Oklahoma City Barons and OU football recruiting. An Oklahoma City native, Aber graduated from Northeastern State. Before joining The...
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