All Durant all the time for Thunder in defeat of Spurs
June 7, 2012 4:45 AM
Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press
Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook celebrates after dunking in the first quarter Wednesday against San Antonio.
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Kevin Durant had 34 points and 14 rebounds Wednesday night while playing every minute of regulation for the first time this season, and the Oklahoma City Thunder claimed a spot in the NBA Finals by beating the San Antonio Spurs, 107-99.
Russell Westbrook added 25 points for the Thunder, who trailed Game 6 of the Western Conference finals by 18 in the first half and erased a 15-point halftime deficit before pulling ahead to stay in the fourth quarter.
Durant grabbed the final rebound, dribbled the ball across halfcourt and raised his right fist to celebrate with a sold-out crowd. The franchise will play for the NBA title for the first time since 1996, when it was located in Seattle.
Tony Parker had 29 points and 12 assists for San Antonio, but only eight of the points and two assists came in the second half. Tim Duncan chipped in 25 points and 14 rebounds, and Stephen Jackson scored 23.
Game 1 of the final round will be played Tuesday night in Oklahoma City against either Boston or Miami. The Celtics lead that series. 3-2 .and can earn a trip to the championship series with a win at home Thursday night in Game 6.
The Thunder took the lead for good early in the fourth quarter, getting nine of their first 13 points on free throws as the fouls started to pile up for San Antonio. Derek Fisher and James Harden hit 3-pointers in a three-possession span to increase the lead to 99-93 with 3:13 left, and Oklahoma City held on.
Durant celebrated even before the final buzzer, hugging his family seated courtside after a foul was called with 14 seconds remaining. The Thunder became the NBA's 15th team to come back from an 0-2 deficit in a seven-game series, doing it against a team that had won 20 games in a row.