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Spurs Beat Thunder, Advance to Finals Against Miami Heat

The San Antonio Spurs won game six in overtime on the road to clinch a second straight Finals match up against the Miami Heat.

Tom Pennington

Things looked bleak for the San Antonio Spurs coming out of the locker  room after halftime.  They were trailing by seven after a late run by the Thunder in what had been a close first half, and Tony Parker was removed from the game due to an ankle injury that has apparently been bothering him for several days.

They responded by blitzing the Thunder 37-20 in the third quarter as they got hot from three point land and exhibited their trademark ball movement to create open shots.  With the Thunder playing small without a center on the floor, the Spurs were also able to take advantage of mismatches in the paint.  Meanwhile, the Thunder had a nightmare quarter, turning the ball over eight times, which led to some effective early offense by the Spurs. A three pointer by Diaw in the corner followed by a four point play on the last possession of the third by Danny Green stretched the Spurs lead to 10 heading into the final period. It looked over.

But the Thunder, behind Russell Westbrook's aggressiveness, got back in the game, and in fact took a two point lead late, before Manu Ginobili hit a three to put them back on top. Ultimately two Westbrook free throws tied the game, and Ginobili missed a contested jumper to send the game to overtime.  The Spurs were able to wear down the Thunder in the overtime period by going to Tim Duncan in the post, mostly against Ibaka. He was able to draw a couple of fouls and make a couple of big baskets for the Spurs, while the Thunder were struggling to score. Kevin Durant did not see enough of the ball in the extra session, as Westbrook dominated proceedings, but missed several shots he had made earlier in the game. He finished with 34 points on 8-23 from the field, but went to the free throw line 18 times, a testament to his aggressiveness. He also committed seven turnovers.

A huge factor in this game, and in fact all series, was the difference in bench production. The Thunder got five points from their bench tonight, while the Spurs got 51, led by leading scorer Boris Diaw, who took advantage of mismatches all night on Thunder switches. Manu finished with 15, including several huge baskets, while Duncan and Kawhi Leonard both had double-doubles.

The Spurs get a chance to avenge last year's heartbreaking defeat to the Heat in the NBA Finals. The series will start on Thursday night from San Antonio.

  • The Lynx are back in action today at San Antonio at 3:30 Central. They just beat the Silver Stars at Target Center, and see them again this afternoon.  The game is streamable via Live Access.
  • The USMNT plays another friendly in preparation for the World Cup. They face Turkey at Red Bull Arena at 1:00 pm Central. It will be televised on ESPN2.
  • The Wolves "news' is Kevin Love's trip to Boston, where he has been seen around town interacting with fans and apparently having a great time. This has sparked rumors that Boston is a front runner for his services. The more I think about a Celtics trade, the less I like it, because it is a trade entirely driven by draft picks. That can get ugly fast. If they don't get a star with the 6th pick, the trade could become a disaster.
Today in history

1215: Mongols under Genghis Khan capture Beijing
1495: First written reference to Scotch whisky; distilled by Friar Jon Cor
1533: Anne Boleyn crowned queen
1774: Britain orders port of Boston closed
1796: Tennessee admitted to union as 16th State. 
1861: First Civil War skirmish at Fairfax Court House, VA
1925: Lou Gehrig replaces Wally Pipp in Yankee lineup

Today's musical birthday is Brandi Carlile, born in 1981.

Have a great Sunday.