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Thunder-Spurs: San Antonio has home-court advantage, but OKC has Kevin Durant

COMMENTARY: When the Thunder needed him, Kevin Durant seemed to take over the game. Said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich: “It didn't seem like that. That was a fact. I was there. I saw it."

by Berry Tramel Modified: June 3, 2012 at 12:15 am •  Published: June 3, 2012
Serge Ibaka didn't miss and Kendrick Perkins dang near kept up with him and Thabo Sefolosha was showing signs of his Game 3 heroics.

Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals was shaping up as one of Kevin Durant's favorite games. All his overlooked pals, the ones he wangles into photo shoots and takes on trips and likes to credit for Thunder success, were having the game of their lives.

Then Durant busted the party by having the game of his life. Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals went from one of Durant's favorite games to one of his best. He took over the fourth quarter with 18 of his 36 points, and the Thunder beat the Spurs 109-103 Saturday night to even the series 2-2.

“He was great,” said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. “We tried to do a couple of different things, but his play was better than anything we did defensively, that's for sure. He finished it off in fine fashion.”

One more crown in Durant's coronation as the NBA's best closer. Three game-winning shots in these playoffs, and now an epic fourth quarter – 7-of-9 shooting, 16 straight Thunder points when the Spurs looked poise to steal a win at Chesapeake Arena.

“I just want to be calm and composed and poised in those situations and make the right basketball play,” Durant said. “I just try to take it on, try not to be nervous. Sometimes it's never-racking playing those games like that.”

Sometimes, Durant seems the most composed person in the building.

The spree started with a tough basket – a contested 17-footer over hearty rookie Kawhi Leonard – and it's not like the following buckets were easy. A floater away from the basket. Another floater on which he made a 3-point play. A driving semi-hook. An alley-oop lay-in off a James Harden pass. A classic jumper off a curl.

“I mean, he wasn't second in MVP voting for nothing,” said the Spurs' Gary Neal. “He is a great scorer.”

Befitting a game in which Durant was solid from start to finish, even when he wasn't scoring, Durant capped his night with a pass. With the Spurs largely matching Durant's baskets, they were within 102-96 until Durant drove and found James Harden open for a 3-pointer. Swish, with 1:04 left.

That gave Durant a game-high eight assists to go with his 36 points and six rebounds and 13-of-20 shooting night.

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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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