The San Antonio Spurs made the headlines today after their gutsy victory over the Oklahoma Thunder for the Western Conference title. The Spurs beat the Thunder 112-107 in overtime, and they did it without Tony Parker in the second half, who was forced to watch from the bench with a sore ankle.
For the Spurs, the best thing about their Western Conference victory over the Thunder is that they earned the right to face the Miami Heat in a rematch of last year’s finals.
This is going to be a highly anticipated rematch against the Heat, following the loss the Spurs suffered in the 2013 finals against Miami. Most teams dream about getting a second chance for a title, especially against a team that defeated them in the past, but the Spurs didn’t waste any time, and they will face the Miami Heat for the second year in a row.
This is the first NBA finals rematch since 1998, when Michael Jordan’s Bulls beat Karl Malone’s Utah Jazz for the second time in a row. After the Spurs win on Saturday night, Tim Duncan made a confident statement: “We got four more to win. we’ll do it this time.”
It was Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Boris Diaw that split the scoring duties in overtime, while forcing the Thunder into one of 11 shooting. Tim Duncan finished with 19 points and 15 rebounds, and Diaw was outstanding, scoring 26 points on eight of 14 shooting.
Diaw also helped the Spurs control the floor by pushing Serge Ibaka out of the perimeter. After the game, Spurs coach Popovich spoke about the victory, ” A lot of guys came through…Boris was fantastic all night long; he was really good on both ends of the court.”
For The Oklahoma Thunder, the heavy scoring came from Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Durant had 31 points and 14 rebounds, while Westbrook scored 34 points with eight assists and seven rebounds. Unfortunately, Durant and Westbrook had seven turnovers each, and the Thunder’s 20 total turnovers led to 33 points for the Spurs.
After Parker re-injured his ankle, they put it in Cory Joseph as his replacement. Joseph ended up leading the way with the aid of Duncan, Ginoboli, Danny Green, and Tiago Splitter. Their teamwork gave San Antonio a 37-20 scoring advantage in the third quarter.
Thunder coach Scott Brooks lamented Oklahoma’s dismal play in the crucial quarter: “That Third Quarter hurt us, That’s the thing about this basketball team we’re playing against, if you relax two minutes, they can go on a 12-3 run.”
The Spurs paved their own way to the NBA finals once again, but can they beat the Miami Heat the second time around?
[Image Via fansided.com ]