Oklahoma Thunder team owner Clayton Bennett upon receiving the 2012 Western Conference trophy said, “All I can think of is how this incredible group of young men has unified this city and the whole state like never before.” This is what I was referring to last year when I wrote, “OKC, MEM, DAL Crown is better for NBA.”
The San Antonio Spurs had it all on their favor, going up 2-0 in the Western Conference Finals, on a 20 game winning streak. All NBA.com pundits saw them winning this year’s crown.
Two weeks ago after OKC beat the Lakers I already predicted them to win the NBA championship. I wrote it on my facebook wall along with my Manila/PBA/Smart Araneta visit photos of KD, Russell Westbrook and James Harden. I wrote about the OKC stars trip here, “Dream Come True Dunkathon.” When the Spurs won 2-0 it seemed I spoke too soon. Everyone was saying OKC was too young, didn’t have enough mental fortitude versus the 5 time champion Spurs.
Today’s close out win 107-99 turning the series 4-2 was nothing short of a statement win for the OKC. The Spurs had not lost 3 in a row all season they were up 18 points at the half! The Spurs did everything right in opening of the game. But the youth of OKC which was perceived as a weakness by everyone, turned into an advantage by the 3rd quarter. The Thunder came out with more energy both on the defensive and offensive end. They contained San Antonio to 36 points for the whole 2nd half.
Westbrook, Harden and KD rained their treys. They got those looks from by finding the open man and sharing the ball. Derek Fisher whom they picked up after the Lakers got rid of him scored crucial treys to ice the game. Fish was also here in Manila last July together with other NBA superstars.
Coach Scott Brooks said they learned to share the ball more from watching the Spurs. In the last 16 seconds with an 8-point lead, Kevin Durant hugged his parents on the sidelines. “It’s just a blessing to have them there to watch me since day 1. I was 8 years old started playing basketball and to be here at the biggest stage of basketball is just a blessing. I never want to take those moments for granted. I know we’re one step closer to our dreams but it felt good. We just gotta continue to keep believing. My momma believed in us since day 1. When we were 23-59 she said one day we could improve. This is great for the city as well.” Durant played the whole 48 minutes and even told his coaches I can play 2 games in one day.
When Coach Scotty Brooks was asked what happened when they fell behind in the series and how he kept everyone on the same page he said, “ We were just worried about winning one game. I give our guys all the credit. They stuck together, that’s what families do. We stick together all the time. We have great fans who cheers us on.”
Dennis 3D Scott in his post game analysis said, “I would never guess in a million years. They won against Coach of the Year in Greg Popovich, best record of the year, two double-digit winning streaks on the road. I’d never guess that take your hat off to Scott Brooks for keeping this team together. They were down 18. We were saying looks like we’re going back to San Antonio that’s how it looked. For Brooks to keep these guys together. Russel Westbrook tripped over his own feet had a couple of turnovers. The team stays together for a young team to have that turnover problem fix it against a great team. And you beat them 4 in a row, simply amazing.”