Of course Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook had amazing games. No one really expected anything different. But even their numbers were rather impressive last night.
Kevin Durant scored 39 points off of 12-for-23 (52.2%) shooting, including an eye-popping 5-for-8 (62.5%) from beyond the arc. Add 16 rebounds, and you have one very impressive double-double.
Russell Westbrook’s shooting percentages were not nearly as impressive, as he shot a mere 4-for-15 (26.7%), and a dismal 0-for-4 from downtown. And yet, Westbrook still managed a 19-point, 12-assist double-double of his own.
Although their play alone would not be enough to close this series. I think everyone on the team knew it, even if they still weren’t ready to admit it publicly. Then the Thunder ran into a massive problem in the 3rd quarter as Serge Ibaka, who had been shooting lights-out for the entire series, suffered a left calf strain and likely could be out for some time. And let’s face it, while Thabo Sefolosha and Kendrick Perkins are great defenders, they can’t really be counted on for consistent scoring.
This makes the play of Reggie Jackson and Caron Butler crucial moving forward. Although Butler was pretty much a non-factor, as he only logged 7 minutes and change, Jackson scored 14 off of 4-for-8 (50%) shooting.
Although the real surprise off of the bench last night was Steven Adams, who not only scored 10 points off of 5-for-7 (71.4%) shooting, but also pulled down 11 rebounds, giving him the Thunder’s third double-double of the evening. Especially with Ibaka out indefinitely, his play moving forward will be crucial as well.
A 104-98 victory at Staples has earned the Thunder the right to advance to their 3rd Western Conference Finals in 4 years. They draw the Spurs for their 2nd Conference Championship match-up in 3 years. I’m sure I’ll have a series preview of Thunder-Spurs headed your way by tomorrow morning, but in the meantime, I’m going to bask in the glow of another series victory. They should too, at least for today. They’ve earned it.