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Will OKC Thunder Win It All?

Sports 2012/06/07 19:00:00
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The Oklahoma City Thunder had a 3-29 start just three years ago. Today, they can call themselves 2012 NBA Western Conference Champions. The Thunder defeated the veteran San Antonio Spurs 107-99 in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals on Wednesday to earn their first trip to the NBA Finals since coming to OKC four years ago. Prior to that, the franchise was known as the Seattle SuperSonics.

Thunder team leader Kevin Durant had a spectacular performance in Game 6, with 34 points, 14 rebounds, five assists, and two blocks. It was only appropriate the last two thunderous plays (no pun intended) were an assist from Durant that led to a Kendrick Perkins dunk and Durant being the last player with the ball in his hands as time expired. In an emotional moment, Durant hugged his mother and brother and stated afterward that while he knows the team has to worry about the NBA Finals, he's still going to cherish this moment -- as he should.

At just 23-years-old, Durant is not only considered a great leader and game closer, but well composed under pressure. Durant's teammates did an excellent job of stopping the Spurs as well, with James Harden's accurate shots and Russell Westbrook's 25 points and eight rebounds. Many going into this series talked about how much more experienced the Spurs were with a core that had won three NBA Championships together and four overall since 1999.

Things looked bleak when the Thunder were down 0-2 in the series and the Spurs increased their win streak to 20 straight games. That didn't stop the Thunder, who rallied back to win four straight to close out the series. The Boston Celtics or Miami Heat will be a tough challenge for the Thunder, but keep this in mind: Durant and Westbrook are both 23 and Harden is 22. That's young, experienced, and a heck of a challenge for the Eastern Conference Champions when the NBA Finals begin this Tuesday.


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