This crazy series came to its logical end Saturday night.
A crazy one.
After the Thunder and the Spurs traded blowouts in the first five games of the Western Conference Finals, they locked in not just a close game but also an overtime thriller Saturday night at The Peake. It just didn’t end the way the home crowd wanted.
Spurs 112, Thunder 107.
“I thought our guys competed throughout the playoffs,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “I thought they did a great job to even the series. Tonight’s game was another great effort by our guys.
“Just didn’t do a few things well enough to beat this team.”
The Spurs advance to the NBA Finals where they will face the Miami Heat, winner of the Eastern Conference Finals. And the Spurs moved on despite their best player being out of commission the entire second half and overtime.
As halftime ended, it was announced that Tony Parker had soreness in his left ankle and would not return to the game.
Not that you could tell by the way San Antonio played in the star point guard’s absence in the third quarter. The Spurs outscored the Thunder 37-20 in the frame, turning a halftime deficit into a 10-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.
But the Thunder wasn’t dead yet. It slowly chipped away at the lead, powered by a heavy dose of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. They scored all but eight points in the final quarter.
Finally, OKC tied the game with 58.6 seconds left on a pair of Durant free throws.
That was sandwiched between a pair of masterful defensive plays by Serge Ibaka, who blocked Tim Duncan, then blocked Manu Ginobili on the next possession.
But, in the end, the Thunder defense wasn’t quite good enough. Ginobili hit a three down the stretch, then in overtime, the Spurs scored on five of their first eight possessions to take a three-point lead with 19.4 seconds left.
Durant got a good look at a three-point shot off an inbounds pass but missed. The Spurs got the rebound, got fouled, and as they went to the other end of the court to shoot free throws, Durant stood planted to the spot where he missed. He stared at the basket, then he bent at the waist.