The Oklahoma City Thunder earned their ticket to the 2012 NBA finals Wednesday night after a brilliant second-half comeback led by All-Star forward Kevin Durant.
In the contest, Durant tallied up 34 points, 14 rebounds and played all 48 minutes of regulation as the Thunder defeated the San Antonio Spurs 107-99 in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals.
“(An) amazing moment for him to play like this in this moment, in this setting. I wasn’t going to take him out,” Oklahoma City head coach Scott Brooks said of Durant’s sensational night.
Russell Westbrook added 25 points and James Harden chipped in with 16 points off the bench for the Thunder, which will face either Boston or Miami in Game 1 of the NBA finals starting next Tuesday night.
The Spurs, who once controlled the series after taking first two games, seemed poised to force a Game 7 after racing to a 18-point lead in the second half.
Unsurprisingly though, the Thunder came up with another huge third quarter as the high-scoring group of youngsters started to find their shooting touch in the second half. Powered by 32 third quarter points, Oklahoma City opened the final quarter with an 81-80 lead and kept applying pressure on the Spurs till the final buzzer sounded.
“It is very disappointing. I thought this was our time to get back to the finals and push for another championship,” said four-time NBA champ Tim Duncan, who had 25 points and 14 rebounds.
Tony Parker also added 29 points and 12 assists for San Antonio, but only eight of the points and two assists came in the second half.
In the game’s closing seconds, ABC reports that Durant grabbed the final rebound, dribbled the ball across half court and pumped his fist in celebration with the sold out crowd.
“I never want to take those moments for granted,” Kevin Durant said after the contest. “I know it’s just one step closer to our dreams, but it felt good.”
The Oklahoma City Thunder will play for the NBA title for the first time since 1996, when it was in Seattle.
The Thunder vs Spurs Game 6 Western Conference Finals highlights can be seen in the video below: