Eighty-two regular season games, three playoff rounds and we’re right back where we left off. For the second straight year, the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs face off in the Finals.
In Game 6, the Spurs beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 112-107 to clinch their Finals berth despite playing the entire second half and overtime without Tony Parker, who sat out with an ankle injury. Manu Ginobili and Boris Diaw picked up TP’s slack, chipping in 15 and 26, respectively. Diaw’s total was a season and postseason high, and Manu’s included a huge three at the end of regulation and a coast-to-coast layup in overtime over Durant. Tim Duncan scored 19 points, including two huge free throws late to go with 16 rebounds.
For OKC, Russell Westbrook did what Russ always does – leave it all on the floor. He had a stat box stuffing 34 points, 7 rebounds, 8 assists, 6 steals and, of course, 7 turnovers. As for the MVP, Durant scored 31 points but vanished in the decisive overtime, missing all three shots he took in the period including a potential game tying three-pointer with 16 seconds to go.
For the Spurs, they’re the first team since 1988-89 Pistons to make it back to the Finals after losing a Game 7 in the Finals the prior year. It’s their sixth Finals trip in 15 years, and just another show of the dominance of their organization. The Thunder move into an uncertain summer, with a roster without much wiggle room and a much maligned head coach who just might end up being the scapegoat for another season that fell just short.
Heat at Spurs, Game 1 – Thursday, 9 ET on ABC.