Monday, June 18, 2018
Sports

Rebounding Thunder ousts Spurs

OKLAHOMA CITY— Kevin Durant had 34 points and 14 rebounds while playing all of regulation for the first time all season, and the Thunder claimed a spot in the NBA Finals by beating the Spurs 107-99 on Wednesday night.

Russell Westbrook added 25 points for the Thunder, which trailed Game 6 of the Western Conference final by 18 in the first half and erased a 15-point halftime deficit before pulling ahead to stay in the fourth.

Durant grabbed the final rebound, dribbled across halfcourt and raised his right fist to celebrate with the crowd. The franchise will play for the NBA title for the first time since 1996, before relocating from Seattle.

"We were just playing for each other," Thunder guard Derek Fisher said. "Good things happen when you're doing it for each other.''

Tony Parker had 29 points and 12 assists for San Antonio, but only eight of the points and two assists came in the second half, when the Spurs were held to 36 points, nearly what they scored (34) in the first quarter alone.

Tim Duncan chipped in 25 points and 14 rebounds, and Stephen Jackson scored 23.

Game 1 of the NBA Finals is Tuesday night in Oklahoma City against either Boston or Miami. The Celtics lead that series 3-2.

The Thunder took the lead for good early in the fourth quarter, getting nine of its first 13 points on free throws as fouls started to pile up for San Antonio; six on the defensive end and three on the offensive end in the first seven minutes.

Fisher and James Harden hit 3-pointers in a three-possession span to increase the lead to 99-93 with 3:13 remaining, and Oklahoma City held on from there.

Jackson, who had made his previous six 3-pointers, and Parker both missed 3-pointers that would have gotten the Spurs within 103-102 in the final minute.

Durant celebrated even before the final buzzer, hugging his family seated courtside after a foul was called with 14 seconds remaining. The Thunder became the NBA's 15th team to come back from an 0-2 deficit in a seven-game series, doing it against a team that had won 20 games in a row.

The Spurs put up quite a fight, at least for the first half.

Parker, who had been largely bottled up ever since the Thunder put 6-foot-7 defensive specialist Thabo Sefolosha on him in Game 3, was back at his best. Parker made seven of his first nine shots, wiggling into the lane for runners and layups.

Parker had a hand in the Spurs' first 12 baskets, making seven on his own and assisting on the other five, before Kawhi Leonard and Jackson followed his three-point play by nailing back-to-back 3-pointers for a 34-16 advantage in the final two minutes of the first quarter.

The Spurs were 9-for-15 on 3-pointers in the first half and maintained their lead right up until Durant's 3-pointer with 0.4 seconds left got Oklahoma City within 63-48 at halftime.

SAN ANTONIO (99): Leonard 2-7 0-0 5, Duncan 11-23 3-4 25, Diaw 0-1 0-0 0, Parker 12-27 4-5 29, Ginobili 4-12 0-0 10, S.Jackson 6-7 5-6 23, Splitter 0-0 0-0 0, Neal 2-6 2-3 7, Green 0-1 0-0 0, Blair 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 37-84 14-18 99.

OKLAHOMA CITY (107): Durant 9-17 12-15 34, Ibaka 4-8 2-3 10, Perkins 2-8 0-0 4, Westbrook 9-17 6-7 25, Sefolosha 4-5 0-0 9, Harden 4-9 5-6 16, Collison 0-1 0-0 0, Fisher 4-7 0-0 9. Totals 36-72 25-31 107.

San Antonio 34 29 18 18— 99

Oklahoma City 20 28 32 27— 107

3-Point GoalsSan Antonio 11-26 (S.Jackson 6-7, Ginobili 2-8, Leonard 1-3, Neal 1-3, Parker 1-4, Green 0-1), Oklahoma City 10-18 (Durant 4-8, Harden 3-4, Westbrook 1-1, Sefolosha 1-2, Fisher 1-3). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsSan Antonio 43 (Duncan 14), Oklahoma City 50 (Durant 14). AssistsSan Antonio 20 (Parker 12), Oklahoma City 18 (Westbrook, Durant 5). Total FoulsSan Antonio 24, Oklahoma City 18. TechnicalsS.Jackson. A18,203 (18,203).

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