As the season is coming closer and closer, we’re going going to bring you our thoughts of the top 20 games since the Thunder moved from Seattle to Oklahoma City. We broke it down to about to about 50 games, and then narrowed it down to 20. We decided most were going to be wins, we had one game that was a loss in the top 20, and it’s easily the most memorable lost. Well, for me at least. Let’s Recap 11-20: #20, #19, #18, #17, #16, #15, #14, #13, #12, #11, #10, #9, now onto #8:
When: June 6, 2012
Location: Oklahoma City, OK – Chesapeake Energy Arena
Final Score: Oklahoma City Thunder 107, San Antonio Spurs 99
Big Players: K. Durant 34 Pts, 14 Reb, 5 Ast, 1 Stl, 2 Blks
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Oh man, this one will sit with me probably for the rest of my life. It was a very up and down game, and I loved every damn minute of it. Oklahoma City came into Game 6 against the San Antonio Spurs with a chance to clinch the series at home. That’s exactly what transpired over the next two hours and 28 minutes.
This game did not start off well at all for the Thunder. Tony Parker jumped out of the gate with 17 points and 5 assists before you could even blink. Tim Duncan was rolling on the low block. Stephen Jackson couldn’t miss (6/7 for 23 points). By the end of the first quarter, the Spurs had a 14 point advantage over the Thunder and things were looking bleak.
In the second quarter, the Thunder started to figure some things out. Though they struggled to stop the Spurs, they had spurts where they showed offensive efficiency. Despite a significant improvement, the Thunder dropped this quarter 29-28 to the Spurs, giving them a 15 point deficit to overcome in the second half.
The Third quarter was one in which the Thunder dominated. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook really got rolling here. Stephen Jackson went absolutely nuts in this quarter, and was without a missed shot until midway through the fourth quarter. But the effort was wasted, as by the end of this quarter, the Thunder fought all the way back to make it a one point game going into the fourth.
After the third quarter that the Thunder had, it was clear that Oklahoma City wasn’t going to lose this game. Hell, even Derek Fisher was knocking down shots in crunch time. Yes, it was a very close game that wasn’t over until Kevin Durant hugged his mom and brothers with about 14 seconds left. But really, the Spurs never had a chance once they let that lead slip away.
This really was a fantastic game all by itself. The Thunder ended up shooting 50% for the game and, save a shooting drought in the first quarter, played very well on the offensive end throughout the game. The difference came on the defensive side of the ball. After allowing 34 points in the first quarter followed by 29 in the second, OKC permitted the Spurs to score just 36 points in the entire second half! This was able to happen thanks to the Thunder stiffening up their defense on Tony Parker. After allowing Parker to start 7/10 from the field in the first quarter, he made just 5 of his next 17 shots.
Offensively, it was the usual suspects. This wasn’t a bizarre game in which a role player went off for OKC. In this game, the Thunder’s big three just played to their potential. Kevin Durant had 34 points on 17 shots, Westbrook had 25 points on 17 shots, and James Harden had 16 points on 9 shots. That’s all it took. Throw in 10 points for Ibaka and 14 boards from KD, and you’ve got yourself a Thunder victory.