Thunder notebook: Experience in Western Conference Finals clincher gave OKC confidence

NBA FINALS — The Thunder beat the Miami Heat 105-94 in Game 1 Tuesday, and Serge Ibaka said the series-clinching win over San Antonio last week gave the team confidence.
by Ryan Aber Published: June 13, 2012
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The Thunder didn't fall into as big of a deficit Tuesday as it did in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals against San Antonio.

But that experience of being down 18 early and clawing back helped in Game 1 against the Heat after Miami built a 13-point second-quarter lead.


Oklahoma City won 105-94 Tuesday.

“It's confidence,” Serge Ibaka said. “After we played like that in the series against San Antonio, we know how to do it. We need to stay together and try to play our basketball and we know everything will come.”

The win was the Thunder's fourth in the playoffs after trailing by double digits — one in each of its four series.

DURANT DOESN'T GO ALL THE WAY

Kevin Durant doesn't like taking breaks.

In Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals, Durant played all 48 minutes.

“Every time I take Kevin out, I usually take him out four or five minutes per half, and sometimes he takes it as a benching,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “And he doesn't understand he needs to rest so he can be ready to play the last eight minutes. But we'll play him as long as he can play at a high level with good energy and defensive energy.

“But 48 is probably a tad too much, 47.”

Durant sat for more than two minutes in the first half, taking a quick breather to start the second quarter.

The only player who played longer than Durant in the first half was Miami's LeBron James, who sat for 1:41 before half.

Durant played the entire second half while James sat for less than a minute in the second half.

IBAKA SHUT OUT

For just the fourth time this season and the first in the playoffs, Ibaka was held without a block.

In all four games, though, the Thunder came out with a win.

The last time Ibaka was held without a block was March 1 at Orlando, a 105-102 win.

The other two both came against Golden State within two weeks of each other, on Feb. 7 and Jan. 27.

‘NOT ANY OTHER GAME'

Brooks tried to keep his team's preparation the same as it had been all season.

“What we do every day is we do the same routine, we focus on improving, we focus on studying what they do,” Brooks said before the game. “And we put it on the shoot around and then pregame and then going into the game, nothing changes.


by Ryan Aber
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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