Top 10 OKC Thunder playoff games – Reminiscing the good times

OKC Thunder, (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
OKC Thunder, (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder
OKC Thunder (Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Number 3: Game 6 vs. the Spurs 2012

In the three-point era the Hornets, Clippers, Pelicans, and Wizards have never made a conference final. Whereas, the Thunder have gone to four western conference finals in their first decade of existence.

Furthermore, reviewing only the last ten years, 13 NBA teams have not appeared in a conference final. An additional six teams have appeared in the conference finals only one time over the past ten seasons.

Game 6 may be the most memorable match of the series, but it’s important to highlight the entire series, due to the fact, a trip to the Finals is rare. With that, let’s review the Thunder’s first and only victorious trip to the conference finals.

Game Specifics

  • When: May 27, 2012 – June 6, 2012
  • Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena – AT&T Center
  • Opponent: San Antonio Spurs
  • Series outcome: Thunder win 4-2

Game 1

Few knew what to expect from the OKC Thunder in the 2012 conference finals. Hence why only four of ESPN’s expert panelist picked the Thunder to win the series. Then Game 1 happened, OKC was in a good position heading into the fourth quarter leading 71-62.

The young Thunder collapsed in the fourth quarter, Allowing the Spurs to drop 39-points on them en route to San Antonio taking a 1-0 series lead.

Game 2

Oklahoma City was looking to avenge their Game 1 collapses in Game 2. However, the Spurs were ready the for the Thunder’s punch in round two. OKC put up little resistance as the Spurs won the game wire-to-wire.

In typical OKC Thunder fashion, Durant, Westbrook, and Harden did the heavy lifting. The trio accounted for 88 or 79.3 percent of Oklahoma City’s 111 points in Game 2.

Game 3

Falling into a 0-2 series hole is not ideal for any team, particularly so for a team whose average age was 25.1, second youngest in the 2012 playoffs. It was now or never for the Thunder seeing as no team has ever overcome 3-0 series hole.

The Thunder chose now, getting a more team-oriented effort with five players scoring in double figures. And, every player to step on the hardwood scored at least one point, the end result? A 20-point Thunder victory, as OKC got on the board in the series.

Game 4

Game 3 was encouraging for OKC, yet it seemed like an anomaly. Seeing how the Spurs handled the Thunder in Games 1 and 2. Every trick San Antonio pulled out of their hat, Oklahoma City had a counter up their sleeve.

The Thunder’s X-factor in the game was starting center Kendrick Perkins. Big Perk scored 15-points, in his highest scoring output of the playoffs, and his second highest of the entire 11-12 season. Perk’s surprise outburst compensated for Westbrook, who scored only seven-points as OKC tied the series 2-2.

Game 5
With the series shifting back to San Antonio it was shaping up to be a series where the home team wins each game. Seeing neither team had yet won on the other’s floor, making home court advantage pivotal.

The Thunder were looking to buck the series trend in Game 5. Behind 44-minutes from the Brodie, in his bounce-back performance from Game 4 OKC did just such pushing the Spurs to the brink of elimination.

Game 6

When Game 6 rolled around the old, wise, and experienced Spurs just looked old. Conversely, the young and hungry Thunder were only looking hungry, at least that’s what transpired in the second half.

San Antonio’s ‘summertime offense’ as Gregg Popovich refers to it as was clicking on all cylinders. The Spurs built a 15-point lead heading into halftime. OKC had a choice to make in the second half, win or return to the Alamo for Game 7.

Oklahoma City chose the former, holding San Antonio to a paltry 36-points while scoring 59 themselves. Durant’s performance was astonishing, playing the full 48 minutes. While, scoring 34-points, on 52.9 percent shooting from the floor, and going to the charity stripe a whopping 15 times.

Westbrook was also wondrous in his closeout performance, scoring 25-points, and matching KD’s 52.9 percent shooting. Russ also grabbed eight rebounds and dished five assists.

In the end, once OKC regained the lead at the 9:32 mark in the fourth quarter, the Thunder never surrendered it again. The celebration was stupendous as the Thunder were heading to their first of what most thought would be many Finals appearances.