Looking back, it’s unbelievably difficult to believe San Antonio crushed Oklahoma City by 32 points to win Game 1. Five games later, OKC is advancing to face the defending champion Warriors in Round 3.
What a turn of events.
From a lifeless squad with more than a few choke jobs under their belt to embarrassing Gregg Popovich’s bunch in a close out, Game 6 victory, OKC grew leaps and bounds in the span of two weeks. And it wasn’t just their DIFFERENT BREED superstars making noise.
Kevin Durant (37 & 9) & Russell Westbrook (28 points, 12 dimes) starred per usual (in Game 6) but guys like Steven Adams (15 points, 11 rebounds) and Andre Roberson (14 points, 3 triples, tough D) are stepping up right when it matters most. Adams has done it all postseason – finishing rolls to the basket, switching out on D and recovering back to protect the rim & snagging rebounds are all in a night’s work.
But the recent trend for Billy Donovan’s squad is there’s always someone else providing relief for KD & Russ. Dion Waiters is making nice PnR reads!, Enes Kanter is a terror on the O-boards, Randy Foye is hitting some timely shots; OKC’s “other guys” outplayed a team (rightfully) proclaimed with the league’s best depth.
Maybe it’s just their year. OKC: A Team of Destiny.
Westbrook has that look in his eye and will be charged up facing Steph Curry next round. Kevin Durant has heard speculation all year long about him (potentially) bolting in free agency. And returning to the game’s biggest stage for the first time since 2012 more than fuels his fire.
OKC-GS could easily be the best series of the postseason. And the verdict? Well, all bets are off at this point.
As for San Antonio, immediate futures for all-timers Tim Duncan & Manu Ginobili will cloud the franchise until around mid-summer, when one (or both) of them decides their fate.
During the next few days, you’ll see a ton of narratives taking the angle of San Antonio being too old or overhyped.
While the former is certainly the case (San Antonio desperately needs to acquire athletes in the offseason), they were a few missed calls from taking control of the series. There’s no eulogy for the Spurs. Don’t worry, they’ll be back.
But for now, it’s all about OKC. You’ve heard it plenty of times before – the playoffs are all about executing down the stretch. KD & Russ have finally exercised their fourth-quarter demons, surprising everyone but themselves.
Bring on the champs.