Since we know the NBA won’t do it, we’re sorry Seattle. The NBA’s New Big Thing took their biggest step since leaving the Emerald City with a 105-90 series-clinching win over Memphis. When two teams are so evenly matched, so deadlocked after six games that only one all-or-nothing, do-or-die showdown can decide who goes on and who goes home, it’s like a scene from a Clint Eastwood movie: in the end, it’s just Clint, a hand cannon and bodies. Games like these build legacies. This one was all about OKC’s stars (who balled so hard we’ll forgive their Revenge of the Nerds postgame looks) with 39 points from Kevin Durant, 17 from James Harden and Russell Westbrook (14 points, 10 rebounds, 14 assists) showin’ up with the first Game 7 triple-double since Scottie Pippen‘s in 1992. By being aggressive at the rim, Durant really opened up some good looks for himself on the outside. His catch-and-shoot abilities are just insane. When he’s 65 and loses all ability to run and jump, he’s still going to play as a 6’11″ guy who sits in the corner and drains threes. It was as if KD finally sat everyone down and said “Listen, I make the bread for us around here, so y’all just get on my back.” Not that he would ever do that, but you get the point. We don’t know if we’ve ever seen a guy that big that can shoot it like that (except for that dude he’s playing next round). And Westbrook showed us how a point guard can do everything right even when he’s not shooting the best (4-for-12 from the floor). In all other ways, he was phenomenal â€“ finding Durant on back cuts, following his shot after misses and doing some acrobatic s$%& to avoid contact at the rack. Harden hit three huge treys in the third quarter to break it wide open; Mr. T rocks the illest beard-mohawk combo. That’s a bad man right there … Memphis played tough, and kept getting after it in the fourth (behind 14 points from O.J. Mayo), but they just couldn’t get the stops they needed to cut into that lead. We mistakenly thought Harden’s trey with under three left was the dagger. Actually, it was his no-look drop pass to a trailing Durant on the very next possession. OKC opened up a lead of 19, and closed the coffin door. R.I.P. to the 2010-11 Memphis Grizzlies. But with Z-Bo (17 points, 10 rebounds), Mike Conley (18 points), Tony Allen and Rudy Gay all locked up for next year, we’re pretty sure we haven’t seen the last celebrations on Beale Street … The Western Conference Finals are set for tomorrow night: the Thunder and the Mavs. Who should be the favorite? … Derrick Rose is continuously reminding us that he’s a different animal, and honestly looked like the best player on the court in Chicago’s 102-83 Game 1 statement smackdown of the Heat. What was Mike Bibby doing Saturday night knowing he was going to be guarding Rose? Was he shaking? Was he popping in old Arizona tapes to remember what once was? Rose was scoring on everyone (28 points, six assists), but it was Luol Deng‘s 21 that was the key. Miami’s perimeter D cut off his patented slash-and-cut game, forcing him to get most of his looks off rebounds and from range. He said thanks and drained four threes. Miami did outshoot Chicago 47 to 44 percent from the field, but the Bulls had 13 more offensive rebounds and took 19 more shots. … For the Heat, Chris Bosh (30 points, 9 rebounds) showed out – he was The Big One. If you told the Heat that Bosh would play like that, they would’ve taken it in a second along with an expected W. Carlos Boozer (14 points, nine rebounds), what do ya got? But it’s all good if Chicago can continue to make life hard on Wade and LeBron (a combined 12-of-32 from the floor). We couldn’t tell if it was Chicago forcing, or the stars settling (they combined for just 11 second-half points), but either way, they took way too many jumpers. They need to be more aggressive moving forward if they want to get past Los Toros. The Bulls are just too versatile defensively; Everyone can literally guard anyone. Chuck called it the best defense he’s ever seen … New rule: when someone gets owned at the rim, they should have to give up some piece of property, like the deed to their house. If that was the case, after a vicious two-handed tomahawk right in D-Wade’s grill, Taj Gibson would’ve won himself a sweet villa in South Beach in the second quarter. Reggie Miller was so pumped about it, he went over-the-top on Steve Kerr (“It’s getting physical here in the booth”). This made us uncomfortable. But that wasn’t even Gibson’s sickest dunk … We’re out like getting in Taj’s way.
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