After the third quarter was over, San Antonio was still up one and if you took it at face value – as Popovich did – that’s a good thing. Up one, on the road in the fourth quarter of their biggest game of the season. But still, at least at the start of the fourth, it felt like someone killed all of San Antonio’s puppies. OKC finally took the lead a few minutes into the fourth off James Harden‘s (16 points) patented Euro two-step, the ball sort of spinning up and in. At the time, Pop was sitting both Tony Parker and Tim Duncan (25 points, 14 rebounds) because the old men needed a little rest (in contrast, Durant hadn’t seen the bench for even a second) and San Antonio immediately called a timeout. Screw small ball. Bring the big guns back in … Halfway through the fourth quarter, the Spurs were hanging on by the edge of Harden’s beard, and without Tim Duncan, they would’ve been finished. Twice in a row, he brought Serge Ibaka into his war room in the post, destroying him on the second possession with a ridiculous drop-step. How did the Thunder respond? With two ball-busting triples from Derek Fisher (only the 1,456 time he’s hit a ball-buster) and the Beard … With OKC nursing a four-point lead in the final minute, the Spurs had three chances to hit a three, and couldn’t get it done. After they left Kendrick Perkins wide open for a dunk to push it to six, you could sense it. Kevin Durant was hugging his family. Stephen Jackson had that “WTF just happened” look, and we couldn’t see it, but we’re sure Derek Fisher was bumping his fist and thinking “What up Kobe!” It was hard to imagine, but yes, the Spurs were about to lose a game where Parker had 21 and 10 in the first half, and Jack had made six triples … As for Duncan, his numbers were great but he was pretty up and down. In the second half, he looked so slow and immobile and was taking jumpers from the top of the key that had no chance (twice when the unconscious Jackson was wide open) … After this playoff run, it’s obvious. Kevin Durant is just the best offensive player in the league. He just does it in so many different ways: off the pick-n-roll, cutting backdoor, off the bounce, at the rim, from 30 feet away. LeBron might be the better all-around player, but he’s not even close to as versatile a scorer, and whereas ‘Bron hasn’t really improved for the last three or four years, Durant took a MAJOR step forward this postseason … And when they brought up Sam Presti after the game for the championship celebration, we were waiting for him to thank Portland for drafting Greg Oden … We’re out like the Spurs.
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