Back in ’91, there was a young, athletic team that had some unquestioned individual talent, but just couldn’t overcome their faults. The Bad Boy Pistons had beat them up and scalped them for three straight years, and everyone outside of Chicago was saying you couldn’t win with a selfish player and you couldn’t win when your center had less athletic ability than half the league’s referees, and your point guard looked like the old guy with the knee brace who dominates the local YMCA pickup. But then something just clicked, the pieces came together, and Detroit took a seat on the tidal wave. Last night, the same thing happened in OKC as the Thunder completed their improbable comeback with a 107-99 Game 6 win to send themselves to the NBA Finals. This was literally a changing of the guard… the Thunder are the first team to win the West outside of Dallas, San Antonio and the Lakers in 14 years. FOURTEEN YEARS! OKC just matured right before our eyes, and there wasn’t anything San Antonio could do. It was like one morning they woke up… and the lil’ bro was bigger and meaner. That growth is personified in Kevin Durant (34 points, 14 rebounds, five assists), whose presence dominated the fourth quarter despite the fact that he didn’t make a shot. Even two months ago, KD couldn’t put his stamp on anything without scoring. Now, he’s creating for others, lifting everyone else’s games and performing invasive heart surgeries on the competition … San Antonio came out and lit it up in the first quarter. Tony Parker (29 points, 12 assists) had 17 in the first 12 minutes, digging into his man purse and pulling out floaters on nearly every possession. He even had 11 points and five assists halfway through the first quarter as the Spurs were hitting rain-makers all over the court. If there was ONE GUY we would want shooting with the game – and the season – on the line in a hostile environment, it’s Stephen Jackson. He just doesn’t care. He lives for those situations; it’s like an alternative strip club for him. We’re always saying you need a little crazy to win, especially in the playoffs, and Capt’n Jack (23 points, six triples) has it. We still remember the Spurs’ title run in 2003 when he wouldn’t do anything all game besides get repeated spankings from Popovich. Then, a team would throw all five guys at Duncan, and Jackson would splash the biggest shot of the game. Someone should’ve told OKC this because he came out slinging guns. The Spurs went up by as many as 18 points, but by the fourth quarter, Parker was struggling, short-arming pull-ups. At one point after he missed what was a simple 15-footer, he was 1-for-8 in the second half. Jackson, on the other hand, just couldn’t get a shot off … Keep reading to hear about the Thunder’s crazy second half …
Smack / Jun 7, 2012 / 12:50 am
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