What is happening in the West? That’s undoubtedly the question the San Antonio Spurs are asking themselves today, after being ousted of the NBA Playoffs by the Oklahoma City Thunder. Was it Kevin Durant that made the difference for the Thunder? Or was it the fact that the Spurs seemed to completely fall apart? Call it a little bit of both; the Thunder are calling it victory; and the biggest one yet.
Kevin Durant became the team hero when he ran out in front of Manu Ginobili during the fourth quarter that stopped the Spur short and allowed the Thunder to take, and hold, the lead. Durant later said that it was strategy on his part. “Manu’s an unbelievable player at twisting his body and making crazy shots, so I just wanted to time it right,” Durant said. “I just wanted to go out there and sacrifice my body for my team. I knew that would give us a little spark.” A little spark indeed, and one that will light the way all the way to the Finals.
Sadly, San Antonio can’t say the same. The team that was heavily favored to be in the Finals received foul after foul last night, with six on defense and three on offense — all in just the first seven minutes of the game. So what happened? A complete breakdown. After winning 20 games in a row, and two of those being the first two they played against the Thunder, they then collapsed and lost four in a row — at the very worst time. But, the team can do nothing but try and shake it off now.
“There’s not much to complain about,” Ginobili said after the game. “We had a great run. We just couldn’t beat these guys.”
The Thunder will now wait to see who wins the Eastern Conference Final — the Boston Celtics or the Miami Heat, to see who they’ll face in the NBA Finals.