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Thunder-Spurs: Young Thunder embraced an opportunity and won by playing its game

by Berry Tramel Published: June 7, 2012

/articleid/3682198/1/pictures/1740667">Photo - Eric Maynor, James Harden, Scott Brooks and Kendrick Perkins, from left, celebrate after the 107-99 win over the Spurs during Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA playoffs at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, June 6, 2012. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman
Eric Maynor, James Harden, Scott Brooks and Kendrick Perkins, from left, celebrate after the 107-99 win over the Spurs during Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA playoffs at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, June 6, 2012. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman

Scotty Brooks' halftime speech didn't focus on defending the pick-and-roll or staying in front of the Spurs' magicians, though no one could have blamed him if it had.

“It had everything to do with who we are as men,” Brooks said. “Who we are as a team, the type of spirit that we want to show every time down the court.”

Strange game. It didn't turn. I defy someone to give me a turning point. Other than halftime. The Thunder just staged a 24-minute assault.

OKC wiped out the Spurs' lead before quarter's end, then won going away.

Westbrook was great and Durant was better. Southpaws James Harden and Derek Fisher nailed back-breaking 3-pointers in the final moments.

But the telling possession came with a minute left, and the Spurs within striking distance, 103-99.

Some guy behind me had been yelling, “Why is Kendrick Perkins in the game!” Then Perk answered the question. He blocked a shot from Tim Duncan, still a force at age 36. Then Stephen Jackson, who at that had launched eight 3-pointers, making six and getting fouled on the other two for a 23-point night, finally missed. And Parker, his legs gone, missed, too.

Durant passed to Perk for a dunk that exploded the noise to Oklahoma City decibel records and brought the streamers down.

And the expectations up.

Looks like these guys can handle it.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at btramel@opubco.com. 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 newsok.com/berrytramel.

by Berry Tramel
Columnist
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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