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The San Antonio Spurs advance to the NBA Finals for the sixth time in the last 16 years. The Spurs clinched their spot in the championship series by defeating the Oklahoma City Thunder in six games in the Western Conference Finals. The series clinching game went to overtime, where San Antonio prevailed 112-107.
At halftime, Oklahoma City led 49-42. The Spurs turned it on in the third quarter and led by 10 points at the end of the period. The Thunder did not go away and battled back to tie the game at 97 with 58 seconds left in regulation. This was the first tie or lead change in the fourth quarter all series. At the end of regulation the two teams were knotted at 101.
The two teams battled back and forth until the Spurs took the lead for good with 1:23 left on a pair of free throws by power forward Tim Duncan.
“We moved the ball, and on top of that, we have trust in the guys that we have out there,” Duncan said in his postgame press conference on NBA.com. “Just being unselfish and trusting each other, that’s been built over the last couple of seasons, and it’s worked for us.”
Duncan posted his 155th career playoff double-double with 19 points and 15 rebounds. Fellow power forward Boris Diaw scored a team-high 26 points. Small forward Kawhi Leonard posted 17 points and 11 boards. Point guard Tony Parker finished with eight points and left the game in the first half with left ankle soreness.
For Oklahoma City, point guard Russell Westbrook amassed 34 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and six steals. Small forward Kevin Durant recorded 31 points and 14 rebounds. Point guard Reggie Jackson scored 21 points, and center Serge Ibaka compiled 16 points.
Point guard Derek Fisher scored the team’s only five bench points. The Spurs bench contributed 51 points, according to ESPN.
“We worked every day since July to be in this position to climb to the top and we came up six games short,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said in his postgame press conference on NBA.com. “We have to keep our heads up and move on.”
For the second straight year, the Spurs will match up with the two-time defending champion Miami Heat. Last year, the Heat prevailed in seven games, handing San Antonio its first defeat in the NBA Finals. Game one of the Finals will be on June 5 in San Antonio.