NBA Playoffs – Day 27

The Thunder bury the Spurs.

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Tonight, one of the best series of the entire Playoffs might come to an end as the Thunder look to close out the Spurs in Game 6 of the Western Conference Semifinals. If this series is going to go seven, San Antonio is going to have to snag a win on the road tonight. If they can’t, OKC will advance to the Western Conference Finals to take on the Warriors, which, let’s face it, would be an epic series. On top of all of this, it could also be the final game in the legendary career of Tim Duncan. I’m legitimately bummed out about this. He entered the league way back in fifth grade, and he’s amongst the first of the all timers that I got to grow up watching. Beyond that, with the exception of Game 1, this has been a wild and competitive series, so with all of the ramifications looming over tonight’s match, there’s no doubt that we’re in for a memorable Game 6.

8:30 pm – We’re live in Oklahoma City for Game 6 between the Spurs and the Thunder! ESPN’s familiar trio of Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson will narrate what should be a great game tonight.

8:32 – The Spurs control the opening tip, and Game 6 is underway!

8:33 – LaMarcus Aldridge gets a shot in the post to roll in, and the Spurs score first to take a 2-0 lead.

8:35 – Russell Westbrook gets to the hoop for a layup, and the Spurs decide to take an early time out with the score Oklahoma City 2, San Antonio 2 with 9:30 left in the first quarter. Coach Gregg Popovich must have seen something he really didn’t like in the Spurs defense.

8:43 – LaMarcus Aldridge takes a great pass from Kawhi Leonard and throws down a dunk, leading to a time out with the score San Antonio 16, Oklahoma City 10 with 4:28 left in the first quarter. The Spurs are off to a great start facing elimination, led by their two big men, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Tim Duncan.

8:54 – The first quarter has ended, and the Thunder closed it out on a 12-0 run, making the score Oklahoma City 25, San Antonio 19. Kevin Durant has ten points already, and the Thunder have taken control after the Spurs got off to a good start.

8:58 – Randy Foye nails a jumper, scoring the first points of the second quarter, and pushing the Thunder’s lead up to 27-19.

9:04 – We’ve got a time out with the score Oklahoma City 29, San Antonio 23 with 8:36 left in the first half. The Spurs have withstood an OKC run that was built up to 14-0, and they’re hanging around as they try to prolong this series.

9:10 – Another time out with the score Oklahoma City 35, San Antonio 25 with 6:43 left until halftime. After a good start, the Spurs shooting percentage has plummeted down to 35.5%.

9:17 – Time out with the score Oklahoma City 40, San Antonio 29 with 3:48 to go until halftime. I hate to say this, but, the Spurs seem like they’re running out of gas here in Game 6.

9:28 – Well, we’ve reached halftime, and this basketball game has taken a depressing turn. The score’s Oklahoma City 55, San Antonio 31. Kevin Durant has 18 points and 5 rebounds, while Russell Westbrook has 13 points and 6 assists. LaMarcus Aldridge has 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Spurs, but they’re shooting just 31.1%, and are 0-8 on their threes. San Antonio just seems to be, like I said, out of gas. The Thunder are running them off the floor, and seem to be really clicking into a very formidable team.

9:35 – It’s time for Today in NBA Playoff History! As always, it’s brought to you by the gang over at Basketball-Reference.

I always like to remind people about the Seattle Supersonics, especially during Thunder games, so let’s go back to May 12, 1996. Back then, the Sonics finished off a sweep of the Rockets in Game 4 of the Western Conference Semifinals with a 114-107 Overtime victory. Shawn Kemp sprung for 32 points and 15 rebounds, while Gary Payton had 24 points and 11 assists. Hakeem Olajuwon had 26 points and 6 rebounds for Houston, Robert Horry had 20 and 12, while Clyde Drexler came up with 15 points, 15 rebounds and 6 assists. It wasn’t enough to keep the Rockets alive, however, and their championship defense was ended by the Sonics, who would make it all the way to the Finals, where they would lose to the Bulls.

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9:45 – Steven Adams knocks down a pair of free throws, and the Thunder start the third quarter by extending their lead up to 57-31. Making this game even more depressing, the Spurs start off the second half with Tim Duncan on the bench, opting to send Manu Ginobili out there instead.

9:54 – We’ve got a time out with the score Oklahoma City 70, San Antonio 47 with 7:18 left in the third quarter. Nobody expected anything like this to happen, and it’s hard to put into words because it’s so shocking. The Thunder have morphed into a cohesive basketball team over the course of this series, and it’s been devastating. They’re making a team that went 67-15 look completely lost.

10:01 – Steven Adams throws down a put-back slam, and it leads to a time out with the score, Oklahoma City 80, San Antonio 55 with 4:22 left in the third quarter.

10:11 – We’re here at the end of the third quarter with the score Oklahoma City 91, San Antonio 65. This has just been a flabbergasting turn of events here tonight.

10:16 – We have a time out with the score still sitting at Thunder 91, Spurs 65 with 10:11 left in the game. The announcers and everyone on Twitter are openly reflecting on the Tim Duncan/Manu Ginobili era and its place in NBA history as if we’re never going to see them again after this one ends. It’s legitimately depressing.

10:24 – Tim Duncan banks in a close range shot, and the Spurs are down, but they’re not giving up. It leads to a time out with the score, Oklahoma City 94, San Antonio 77 with 7:58 left in the game.

10:32 – OKC needs a time out after a Tim Duncan basket makes the score Oklahoma City 97, San Antonio 84 with 5:22 left in the game, and the Spurs are on a 14-3 run. Duncan is up to 19 points. It would be the greatest thing in the world if the Spurs came all the way back and won this game after everyone had declared them dead. I stopped short of calling them dead, but did say they had run out of gas, but here they are in the fourth making one last run.

10:41 – Tim Duncan goes to the hoop, but he’s blocked by Serge Ibaka. It incites a Thunder fast break which Kevin Durant finishes off with a dunk, and we’ve got a time out with the score Oklahoma City 101, San Antonio 88 with 3:11 left. The Spurs have outscored the Thunder 23-10 here in the fourth, but the deficit they have to overcome might be just too big.

10:53 – Well, the game has come to an end with a final score of Oklahoma City 113, San Antonio 99. Kevin Durant scored 37 points and grabbed 9 rebounds for OKC. Russell Westbrook went for 28 points and 11 assists, and Serge Ibaka chipped in with 8 points and 10 rebounds. Kawhi Leonard led the Spurs with 22 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists, LaMarcus Aldridge had 18 points and 9 rebounds and Tim Duncan, in possibly his final game, scored 19 points and grabbed 5 boards. Speaking of potential final games, Manu Ginobili scored five points off the bench.

With the Spurs falling behind early, and the announcers and everyone on Twitter quickly eulogizing them, this felt more like a funeral than a basketball game. As a result, the game had a sad quality about it, and if this really is the last time Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili are seen on a basketball court, it’s been a pleasure watching them their whole careers.

Lost in all of the Spurs speculation is an incredible performance from the Thunder. Over the course of this series, they realized their full potential, and morphed into a more cohesive and coherent version of themselves. It proved too much for the Spurs to handle, and if the Thunder can keep it up, they should be a great challenge for the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals. As sad as it is to see the Spurs go, I don’t think anybody is upset about the Warriors and Thunder squaring off for a spot in the Finals.

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Well, that’s going to do it for tonight. It’s not often that a Playoff game ends up feeling like a funeral, but the announcers and Twitter pulled it off, so, thanks for that guys. Hopefully tomorrow’s Game 6 between the Raptors and Heat doesn’t have any sadness looming over it, and we can get back to having fun.

Author: tomeagher

Watching too much basketball.

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