Game Recap

1 The Thunder is the first team to make the NBA Finals from the Western Conference besides the Lakers, Spurs or Mavericks

3 The Thunder are only the 3rd team in NBA History to win 4 straight in the Conference Finals after trailing 0-2

10-for-18 Three-point shooting numbers for the Thunder on the night, including a combined 7-for-12 by James Harden and Kevin Durant

25 Points for Russell Westbrook on 9-for-17 shooting, including a three pointer

32-18 The margin by which the Thunder outscored the Spurs in the game-changing third quarter

34 Points for Kevin Durant on the night on 9-for-17 shooting, including 12-for-15 from the free throw line

42-34  Rebounding advantage for the Thunder on the night, including 14 for Kevin Durant

48  Number of minutes for Kevin Durant

50 Shooting percentage on the Thunder tonight, who held the Spurs to 32.5 percent shooting in the second half

59-36 Scoring differential in the Thunder's favor in the second half

        
GAME IN REVIEW


RECAP:
During the Thunder's starting lineup introductions, a message flashed across the video board above the floor at Chesapeake Energy Arena. It read, "RESILIENCY- It defines our city. It defines our team."

On Wednesday night in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals against the San Antonio Spurs, that rallying cry could not have been more apt or more fitting. Trailing at one point by 18 and facing a 15-point halftime deficit, the Thunder rolled back with a remarkable second half where it outscored the Spurs 59-36 en route to a 107-99 victory to advance to the NBA Finals. After the game, Head Coach Scott Brooks explained the reason his team made the brilliant comeback.

"It had everything to do with who we are as men, who we are as a team, the type of spirit that we want to show every time down the court," Brooks said. "It was about that, about body language, about being a family. I thought our guys did that in the first possession of the second half, and they didn't look back."

Guard Russell Westbrook, whose leadership and tenacity have been on display all season and series in a variety of different forms helped lead the charge with steady offense and aggressive defense throughout the night. Despite the fact that the Thunder found itself in a big hole, seemingly one that felt bigger than the 2-0 deficit it faced to start this series, Westbrook and his teammates looked to one another as the inspiration and guidance to play better, tougher and more effective basketball.

"This group of guys has been great all season," Westbrook said. "When we're down, we all stick together and know that we have an opportunity to win the game. Tonight was one of those nights. We started off a little slow, but the guys stayed with it, stayed into it."

Spurs All-Star guard Tony Parker erupted for 21 points and 10 assists in the first half, but in the second he was limited to eight points on 4-for-13 shooting and only two assists. The combined defense from Thabo Sefolosha, Westbrook and Derek Fisher helped hold the Spurs perimeter players in check and the entire Spurs team to 32.5 percent shooting in the second half. That defensive effort more than anything is what turned the game around according to Sefolosha.

"I think it was our energy, mostly," Sefolosha said. "Helping one another and talking out on the court. In the first half we let the pressure get to us a little bit. Everybody was just doing their own thing defensively but in that second half we got back to doing what we do, and that was the key."

After the game, guard James Harden, who had 16 points including a massive three-pointer with 3:13 remaining said that tonight was a continuation of the heart and unity that the Thunder team has shown all season and has been building over the past four years. As a group, Harden and his teammates trust one another completely, and have shown that resiliency that their team and this city personifies.

"That's what we are about," Harden said. "Being down this entire playoffs, at points we could have given up, but we fought from the beginning of the second half on. That last 24 minutes were some of the best basketball we've played in a long time, from a defense and offense (standpoint). I'm just proud and the resilience that these guys have and sticking with it."

A deafening Chesapeake Energy Arena crowd rang in the victory after Kendrick Perkins' monster transition dunk with 24.3 seconds remaining, and it was a special moment for a team, a city and a state that has withstood adversity and fought through to find success. To Kevin Durant, who led the way with 34 points, 14 rebounds and a crucially important drawn charge in the fourth quarter, the team's connection and bond with the city is what propels the team to new heights. He hopes that after tonight, once the Thunder gets back to work tomorrow to prepare for the Finals, the city-team tandem can soar one more level.

"It felt good for the city knowing where we came from and how hard we've worked," Durant said. "We've just got to continue to keep going, keep believing and we'll see what happens next… We know we have a long road ahead of us, so tomorrow we'll kind of let it go and we'll see what happens."

Turning Point:
The third quarter was a slow burn as the Thunder gradually erased a 15-point halftime deficit. The initial surge actually started with 0.4 seconds left in the second quarter when Kevin Durant nailed an absurdly difficult three pointer to make it 63-48 at halftime. Coming out of the break the Thunder embarked on an 11-2 run that saw the Spurs lead dwindle to 65-59 with 7:48 remaining after a Kendrick Perkins to Serge Ibaka slam dunk. During the run the Thunder forced five missed shots and a turnover in addition to getting a Russell Westbrook to Durant layup out on the first possession, a Westbrook pull-up jumper, a three-point play from Ibaka and two free throws from Durant.

"I just think we believed from when we went down and got into halftime, guys came together and said we can come out with this win," Westbrook said. "I think coming out of the half we did a great job defensively picking up our intensity, being a little more aggressive and that's Thunder basketball and that's what got us the win tonight."

The game was put away for good when the Thunder turned a slim 93-91 lead with 4:51 remaining into an eight point victory after James Harden patiently found Derek Fisher in the corner for a three pointer, then Durant hit Harden for a three-pointer on a drive-and-kick. Immediately after that Russell Westbrook was found by Harden on a beautiful pass for a layup, then Fisher pump faked and hit a banking runner to push the lead to 103-97 with 1:45 remaining. To close the game, Kendrick Perkins made a block then Harden corralled a rebound and pitched it ahead to Perkins for a slam dunk that made the Thunder crowd erupt.

"That's the best thing to have in the NBA, best fans in the NBA," Harden said. "They really stuck with us. That first half wasn't good at all but they stuck with us and in the second half we turned around and they were there cheering us on. So it was great to give back to them as well."

Plays the box score won't show, first half…
Russell Westbrook shakes Tony Parker with a head fake and knocks down a jumper, then Serge Ibaka plays straight up defense and Kendrick Perkins boxes out strongly… Perkins posts up hard and hits a turnaround jumper, then Ibaka forces a miss and Westbrook goes in for a monster slam… Perkins sets a nice pin-down screen for Kevin Durant to free him up for a bucket… Westbrook stays alert and tracks down a loose ball then runs it down floor for a layup, then Perkins does a nice job of forcing Duncan away from the hoop… Another nice screen from Perkins and Ibaka to free up Durant for a jumper, then Ibaka contests and Perkins boards on the defensive end… Ibaka hustles on the offensive glass to get a tip in… Nick Collison boxes out strongly to grab a missed rebound the Westbrook stays aggressive and draws a foul… Westbrook stays in front and grabs a rebound then Collison and Harden both hustle to keep possession… Harden grabs a defensive rebound and runs down floor with it to draw a foul, then Collison plays smart defense and gets possession back… Great ball movement leads to a Derek Fisher floater and pressure defense ends the quarter… Thabo Sefolosha uses his length to make a steal, then Collison boxes out to draw a foul… Durant slides through a screen and frees up Harden for a three pointer… Fisher boxes out to get Durant a rebound, then Sefolosha hustles on the offensive boards to grab it and flush it home… Ibaka sets a nice, solid screen to free up Durant for a three pointer… Ibaka snares a rebound, then Durant drives and dishes to Fisher for a runner… Durant tips a rebound to himself, then Sefolosha pulls up for a jumper off the dribble… Durant boxes out for another rebound, then Ibaka knocks the ball out of bounds to disrupt the play… Durant makes a block, then drives and kicks to Harden for three… Sefolosha makes a steal in the lane after pressuring up top… Westbrook and Harden hustle back in transition defense, then Durant draws a foul on the fast break… Durant scores on a soaring floater then Westbrook hauls in a rebound on the defensive end… Ibaka with a massive rejection on Tim Duncan that goes into the first row… Perkins defends straight up and Durant pulls in the board, then Durant drives and dishes to Ibaka who draws a foul… Durant hits a huge three pointer to end the half.

Plays the box score won't show, second half…
Nice shake and bake move by Durant to get himself a layup, then Perkins defends smartly and Durant snags a rebound… Sefolosha saves the ball to Ibaka and Westbrook splashes a midrange jumper… Perkins boxes out and Westbrook grabs a rebound… Durant patiently drives then dumps the ball off to Ibaka for a layup plus the foul, then Durant hustles on the defensive boards to get possession back… Ibaka closes out to contest and Westbrook grabs a board then Perkins dumps one off to Ibaka for a slam dunk… Ibaka sets a fantastic screen to free up Durant for a step up three pointer… Durant makes a block in transition, then Perkins makes a steal and leads the fast break for a Sefolosha layup… Unbelievable pass from Westbrook to somehow find a rolling Durant for a dunk… Westbrook drains a jumper after Durant knocks down a free throw, then Durant boxes out for a board… Durant drives to the cup and dishes to Sefolosha for a corner three pointer, then Westbrook gets to the cup with a scoop shot… Perkins sets up Westbrook for a jumper with a big screen, then Perkins boxes out to allow Sefolosha to grab the rebound… Perkins tips a rebound to Westbrook, then Sefolosha boxes out to get Durant a rebound… Perkins then screens again for Durant who drills a three pointer… A quick pick-and-roll between Westbrook and Durant nets a free throw, then Westbrook makes a block on a Tony Parker drive… Incredible team defense holds Manu Ginobili to a tough contested three pointer miss to end the quarter… Westbrook drives and hangs in the air to dish to Ibaka for a layup, then Fisher's tough defense forces a miss… Durant and Ibaka box out for a tough board, then Durant drives and draws a foul… Durant skies for a defensive rebound, then Harden slides to the cup and makes a layup thanks to an Ibaka screen… Wonderful pick-and-roll defense by Fisher and Ibaka forces a Spurs turnover, then Durant draws a foul on a post-up… Fisher stays in the passing lane and makes a steal, then Westbrook finds Harden on the break to draw a foul… Durant steps up and takes a charge with perfect positioning, then Durant grabs a loose ball off the floor… Nice defensive possession by Ibaka and Westbrook leads to a miss, then Westbrook snares an offensive rebound and draws a foul… Ibaka hauls in a big rebound, then Harden draws an offensive foul trying to get out to a shooter… Harden slings it to Fisher after some mis-direction for a big corner three pointer, then Ibaka stays straight up on Duncan to force a miss… Durant takes two dribbles in and hits Harden for a big three pointer, then Perkins makes a smart foul to prevent a sure layup… Beautiful pass by Harden to find a back-door cutting Westbrook for a layup plus the foul, then Westbrook grabs his own missed free throw… Harden drives and kicks to Fisher in the corner, who dribbles in and hits a bank shot floater, then Perkins boxes out on the defensive end… Big block by Perkins then great closeouts by Thunder players to force a miss, then Harden finds Perkins for a monster slam that blows the roof off the place and effectively ended the game.

!doctype>