As the Thunder’s distraught superstars left the court with five seconds left on Saturday, their season soon to be over, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich pulled Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook over for a brief chat.
“As far as Russell and Kevin are concerned, they’re class acts,” Popovich said. “I mean, they know how to lose and they know how to win. I say that in a complimentary way. A lot of people lose and can’t handle it, but they were class acts.”
Durant: “He’s a class act. Just told him congratulations.”
Westbrook: “I just congratulated him on a great season and on advancing.”
Popovich started his postgame presser by congratulating the Thunder organization: “I have a lot of friends in that organization, and I know starting with Clay Bennett how well run it is with (Sam Presti) and Scott (Brooks). Their players, their staffs. They do a fantastic job, and we really have a lot of respect for them. And that’s why I have to be honest, this victory is really sweet because we know we played one hell of a team, and we take great satisfaction in that because they are so special. They’ll certainly be back doing great things.”
Westbrook from the line
Durant is one of the most prolific and accurate free-throw shooters in NBA history. But this postseason, he wasn’t the best on his own team.
That distinction falls to Westbrook, who got to the line and converted at an incredible rate.
In the playoffs, Westbrook went 145-of-164 on free throws (88 percent). Against the Spurs, he went 54-of-59 (92 percent). He’s a career 81 percent free-throw shooter.
Durant shot 81 percent from the line in this postseason.
Fisher’s final game?
If this was the final game of Derek Fisher’s career — as he has maintained throughout the season that this would be his last — the 17-year veteran went down battling.
Playing a season-high 33 minutes — including the final 22 — Fisher had five points, six rebounds and a steal.
In the coming days, Fisher’s future endeavors will likely take shape, with his name being floated around as a possible coaching candidate for the vacant Knicks and Lakers jobs.
Popovich most anxious moment
With no desire to ‘talk O’s and X’s’ before Saturday night’s Game 6, Gregg Popovich was willing to open up a little about the life of an NBA coach.
After admitting that he enjoyed watching other playoff games rather than his own — because of the pressures of his job — Popovich was asked when he is most nervous on gamedays.
“It's awful sitting in your hotel room all afternoon, I can tell you that,” Popovich answered. “That's the worst part of my job is sitting in a hotel waiting for a game. It can be regular season or playoffs. It doesn't matter. It just seems like wasted time in life. That's as honest as I can be, I guess.”
Stat of the night
In 19 postseason games, Westbrook averaged 27.7 points, 8.0 assists, 7.3 rebounds and 2.1 steals.