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May 21, 2012; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) take a shot while being defended by Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol (16) and Lakers guard Ramon Sessions (7) during the first half in game five of the Western Conference semifinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-US PRESSWIRE

Thunder close out Lakers in 5, reach Western Conference Finals for second straight season

Mark D. Smith-US PRESSWIRE

The Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Los Angeles Lakers 106-90 in Game 5 to win the series and advance to the Western Conference Finals for the second straight season.

Russell Westbrook led the Thunder with 28 points while Kevin Durant chipped in with 25 points and 10 rebounds.

Kobe Bryant went down shooting as he finished with 42 points on 33 shots.

The Lakers simply did not have the legs to keep up with the Thunder in this series and it really showed in Game 5.

The Thunder outrebounded Los Angeles 51-35 in Game 5 including 14 offensive rebounds.

Oklahoma City turned the ball over more than any team in the NBA this season averaging just over 16 per game but cut that number in half in this series against the Lakers.

The Thunder were also one of the most isolation-heavy teams in the league this year but had 20 assists on 42 field goals tonight.

James Harden provided a fantastic lift off the bench scoring 17 points to go with eight rebounds and four assists.

The Thunder did most of their demoralizing damage on the break scoring 30 fast break points in the game.

The Lakers were unable to take advantage of their inside play of Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol in the series. The Thunder were able to play both big men straight up luring Kobe into trying to go off alone every night.

Kobe got his and the Thunder were fine with that. They knew they could beat a one man show because they had three guys who were going to get theirs.

The Thunder deserve to celebrate winning eight of nine games so far in the playoffs and doing it against the two teams who won the past three NBA titles but there work is far from done.

The San Antonio Spurs are playing better than any team in the NBA right now and will be waiting to play the Thunder in the Western Conference Finals.

The Spurs are a perfect 8-0 in the playoffs so far and haven’t lost a game since April 11. They will have home court in the series and played the Thunder well this season.

The Thunder and Spurs will begin the Western Conference Finals this coming Sunday at 8 p.m. EST for Game 1.

Tags: Andrew Bynum Game 5 James Harden Kevin Durant Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers NBA Playoffs Oklahoma City Thunder Pau Gasol Russell Westbrook San Antonio Spurs Western Conference Finals Western Conference Semifinals

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