KD sends the Spurs home.
We're witnessing history. And of course I'm referring to Thunderstruck, which will be the finest pro sports and "Hey we switched!" genre movie ever made (apologies to Kirk Cameron and Dudley Moore). You see, a floppy haired 7th grade white boy now has Durant's basketball ability. And a new 10 inch ankle spanker!
Actually, I'm referring to my thunderstruck moment after watching KD will OKC into the NBA Finals, with the Thunder outscoring the Spurs by 26 in the second half.
Never has a team this young, been this good, this early.
The youngest team in the NBA is proving to be its best. Primarily because they're buoyed by composure beyond their years: equal parts KD cold-bloodedness, James Harden don't-give-a-damn-ness, and Russell Westbrook's insane competitiveness.
Though that wasn't apparent in the first half tonight.
The San Antonio Spurs silenced the nervous Thunder early, going up by as much as 18, and leading at halftime 63-48. The pace was frenetic and OKC crumbled before the Spurs machine, Parker and Duncan were in top form, and Stephen Jackson was beyond unconscious from the 3 point line.
Unfortunately for the Spurs, the Thunder are the better team. More specifically: Kevin Durant plays for the Thunder. The Spurs had no answer for KD all series long. And the law of large numbers wins out if the better team temporarily on the short end of the stick will continue to play hard and make some adjustments. That's what OKC did.
By the end of the 3rd, OKC had cut the Spurs lead from 15 to 1. By the mid-4th, you knew who was winning this game.
Durant finished Game 6 with 34 points, 14 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 blocks, 1 steal and played all 48 minutes. His offense carried OKC, he played clutch defense, and then dominated the boards playing power forward in Scott Brooks' second half small ball rally crew. Westbrook was superb (25-8-5) and key in wearing down Tony Parker in the 2nd half after Parker worked over Sefolosha in the 1st. And Harden came on late offensively after spending most of the game losing Jackson on the three point line.
Popovich may be criticized for shortening his bench and streamlining the SA rotation from 10 to 7, which may have contributed sluggish legs in the 2nd half, but the Spurs don't open their initial lead without that move. He had to play the guys getting it done on defense and from the 3 point line, and then hope to ride out the early momentum. Limiting the minutes of players like Danny Green and Matt Bonner was the only move available.
If the Spurs represent what is right about the NBA - and I think they do - the good guy Thunder also represent what is right - and right now - namely, the most exciting team in basketball.
Soak it in. Watching it build is the best part.