This is what it looks right before the start of a dynasty.
The Oklahoma City Thunder have been growing and learning all year long. They’ve taken the next step and then they’ve taken the one after that.
This was yet another “next step” for them.
The Thunder beat the San Antonio Spurs 108-103 in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals Monday night to go up 3-2 in the series.
The Thunder lost the first two games of this series before winning the next two at home and then Game 5 on the road.
Kevin Durant led the Thunder with 27 points on 10-of-19 shooting.
James Harden hit the biggest shot of the night though draining a stepback 3-pointer over Kawhi Leonard with 32 seconds left to put the Thunder ahead 106-101.
Harden made a 3-pointer and was fouled for a 4-point play with 5:17 left that gave Oklahoma City a 101-88 lead.
The Spurs would score the next 11 points to cut their deficit to just two with 1:54 left in the game.
The Thunder did not execute perfectly down the stretch. They did not get many stops. They simply won because of their superior talent.
Russell Westbrook finally ended the Spurs’ run nailing a jumper with 1:40 left to put the Thunder up 103-99.
Westbrook finished with 23 points in the game but his 12 assists were by far the most impressive stat he had.
The Thunder had 22 assists as a team as they have continually improved with their ball movement in this series.
Manu Ginobili scored 34 points to lead the Spurs. He started the game for the first time in the series and was really the only player giving the Thunder fits.
The Thunder knew it was going to be tougher on the road. It was. Serge Ibaka picked up two quick fouls and only played 20 minutes in the game. The Spurs started making shots that they weren’t in Games 3 and 4.
But a soon-to-be champion wins a game like this. The best part about watching the Thunder is seeing them grow. This has been the best example of that yet.
The work for Oklahoma City is far from over though. The Spurs will not quit. The Thunder get a chance to close out this series at home Wednesday night in Game 6.