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Spurs-Thunder: Youthful OKC squad stands tall

Berry Tramel: The Thunder is one win away from reaching the NBA Finals, long before most thought it would be ready.
by Berry Tramel Published: June 5, 2012

Game 5 was an ascension game. Winning on the road in a 2-2 conference finals is not the stuff of lightweights. It's a sign of accelerated maturity. A sign that the Thunder, who after Game 2 looked like it needed at least another year to grow up, perhaps did so in a week.

“Coach always emphasizes that every opportunity we step out on that floor is a great opportunity to get better and grow and fight towards our dreams, and we all knew that,” Durant said.

“We've been together for so long, and we just had to keep pressing.”

Interesting. This team of 22- and 23-year-olds touting its length of service. Seems funny in a series that includes the Spurs, who down the stretch of games use Tony Parker, Ginobili, Duncan and Stephen Jackson, who all played on the Spurs' 2003 NBA title team.

But this is the seventh playoff series with Durant, Westbrook, Harden, Ibaka and Nick Collison playing together.

Chris Paul has been in the league seven years and has played in just six playoff series, regardless of teammates.

“I like what we've done,” Brooks said. “Being down 2-0, we knew that we had to play much better. Adjustments needed to be made, but the biggest adjustment that needed to be made was we need to play better.”

The Thunder has done that. And now it's on the threshold of arriving as a champion before its time.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at


by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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