Thunder exit, but not going anywhere

By Jeff Caplan, NBA.com


VIDEO: Inside the NBA crew discusses future of the Thunder

OKLAHOMA CITY – The new guard came ripping through in 2012 like a whipsaw, razor sharp and bristling with youthful exuberance, striking size and superstar talent.

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, unbridled and unstoppable, tapped out the last-gasp San Antonio Spurs, and set to unleash an era of mouthwatering East-West Finals fury with the Miami Heat not seen in 30 years since Magic Johnson‘s L.A. Lakers and Larry Bird‘s Boston Celtics.

Two years later and LeBron James — holding his end of the bargain with not one, not two, not three, but a fourth straight Finals berth after navigating the least competitive road to a conference title in recent memory — is still waiting for his Thunder contemporaries to join him.

Instead James will again see the San Antonio Spurs and their immortal Big Three, a group who raised their first of three Larry O’Brien trophies the year James was showing his percolating potential as a senior at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School.

Durant chased down LeBron as this season’s league MVP, but the championship remains on hold. He had a chance to give the Thunder a four-point lead in overtime, but his straightaway 3 — contested by Kawhi Leonard but still a good look — caromed off the back rim with 1:45 to go in overtime. Then down by three, the game’s most lethal closer got off a clean 3 off the inbounds, but it, too, wouldn’t go down.

The killer, though, was a no-show third quarter. Tony Parker never returned from halftime because of a sore ankle and San Antonio answered with perhaps its finest period of the season, a 37-20 whipping that erased the Thunder’s seven-point lead and set the stage for their NBA Finals-clinching 112-107 Game 6 victory.

It was perhaps Durant’s worst period of the season — five points, five turnovers and one awful foul of Danny Green on a made 3-pointer with 1.2 seconds on the clock. The four-point play culminated a 7-0 run and put the Spurs up 79-69.

“They’re a great team, they made a run, but that shows the character we have on this team to force that overtime and not give up,” said Durant, who ended his seventh season with 31 points, 14 rebounds and seven costly turnovers. “It’s easy to give up, but you can say that about any run throughout our game. They could have put us away to start the fourth quarter, but they didn’t.”

When it was all over, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich (headed to his sixth Finals with the ageless and still magnificent Tim Duncan), hugged Durant and then Westbrook and looked each in the eye.

“We know we played one hell of a team, and we take great satisfaction in that because they are so special,” Popovich said. “They’ll certainly be back doing great things without any doubt.”

The alternative story line will be floated, that the window is closing on this core. Durant has two more seasons on his contract, and he could singlehandedly sink the franchise if he decides to uproot. But, just as he stated that “the grass is not always greener on the other side” during his impassioned MVP speech, Durant answered questions with pride for his team and optimism toward the future.

He sat at the podium, not speaking in the mumbled tones as he had at times during this roller-coaster postseason, but rather expressing praise for his team’s spirit to the end. He also showed admiration for his partner’s fight through multiple knee surgeries that sidelined him for nearly half the season.

“I’m not so sure I would have stayed positive through two knee surgeries and playing so well and then having to sit out for two months and coming back, and minutes restrictions,” Durant said of Westbrook. “But he stayed positive and level-headed and came out and had a great postseason for us.”

Arguably the best on the team, including Durant. What should come out of this latest setback is that this athletic, young core of Durant, 25, Westbrook, 25, and the iron-willed Serge Ibaka, 24, needs more help. What appeared to be a deep club as the season wore on, was stripped to its nuts and bolts by the Spurs.

Thunder coach Scott Brooks, who will undoubtedly take on grief for this ending. Some will speculate about his job security, despite Westbrook’s knee surgeries, Ibaka absence for Games 1 and 2 of the series and Reggie Jackson playing on a tender right ankle the final three games, lost faith in starting shooting guard Thabo Sefolosha and all reserves not named Derek Fisher.

In the 29 minutes of the second half and overtime, Brooks played the 39-year-old Fisher, who likely played the final game of his career, 27 minutes. Rookie Steven Adams logged four minutes and veteran Nick Collison, who started the first two games in place of Ibaka, got two. From the fourth quarter on, Brooks made no substitutions until the final six seconds to allow the crowd to give Durant, Westbrook, Ibaka and Jackson one final salute.

“Coach has done a good job all year. I think he felt like that was the best group. In an elimination game he’s going to ride the best group he’s got,” Collison said.

That group will have to be better next season in a West that shows no signs of letting up. General manager Sam Presti will have to somehow unearth shooters off the bench for OKC, which may be a challenge. The Thunder have limited funds to add quality help via free agency, but they do have assets in young players and Draft picks that could spur a trade. Owner Clay Bennett, who somberly shuffled through the concourse afterward, is staunch about remaining a non-luxury-tax payer. That stance will have to be closely evaluated with a team so close to NBA glory.

“Without a doubt we’ve grown, from top to bottom, everybody,” Durant said. “Around here, our goal is to win the big thing and go out on top. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen for us this year, but we still improved. Just grateful to play with such great teammates in such a great building and for a great city like this. We’ve all got to keep our heads up and keep improving.”

That latter part now rests with the front office.

90 Comments

  1. okcDoke2014 says:

    There is a good chance Durant is gone in 2016 as a UFA and Westbrook a year later. Free agency is a tough decision time for players

  2. Matt 242 says:

    Three things need to happen for the thunder to get an unbeatable team 1) better bench play there’s stars are young now but after so long without a bench to rely on its puts pressure and wear and tear on those guys! 2) A scoring big man in the post be it power forward or center ibaka can play 4 or 5 but this would take some pressure off the wing and would allow a easy flow of offense 3) move Westbrook to the 2 position he’s good at getting to the rim and has a good midrange but doesn’t like giving up the ball I think it’ll be beneficial for him to play off the ball with cuts to the basket some screens to set him up for those midrange jumpers and eliminate those untimely 3s! Just saying

  3. TMac says:

    @ 37yrfan….lol are you serious? Ray Allen left before he got traded….AGAIN. There were talks of trading Ray Allen for awhile before he decided to leave. If he would have signed with the Celtics he would have been traded soon after and he knew it…….and guess what happened?? Paul and KG got traded!! Why would he want to stay with a trade looming over his head?? The smartest thing would be to leave to go to a team YOU decide to go to instead of going to a team you have no desire to be at because of a trade. And @ HeatFansDon’tExist is right about what he said, so before you start making a point you need to get your information right. Don’t act like you wouldn’t “jump ship” in Ray Allen’s position. I’m so sick of people acting like they would be oh so loyal to an organization that could give a damn about you if they can get a good deal for you.

  4. MR210 says:

    KD needs help if he is to win a title…
    Westbrook is too much of a loose cannon.

    Bench play was horrid. They didn’t have enough playing time all season long to develop – that way they’d be ready to step in at a moments notice when needed the most: in the playoffs.

    Brooks was outcoached by the best in the business. Look for OKC to consider a change.

    Westbrook – said it before and I’ll say it again – they need to seriously consider trading him. He doesn’t compliment KD at all.

    GO SPURS GO – DRIVE FOR FIVE!

  5. Paul says:

    should of kept the beard should of kept the beard; westbrook is a remarkable player, but at times a lot of his bad decisions really hurt OKC and it was real visible in this series. yes he scored points generated plays no doubt; but a lot of his bad decisions real take a turn for the worse for OKC ..

    i would of signed the Beard years ago and parted with westbrook. Harden would of been a better fit for OKC in the long run. OKC eventually would of got Fisher anyways, Jackson and fisher could of rotated on the PG position and you would of had a two solid players like Durant and Harden cycling bewtween SG and SF.

  6. okcDoke2014 says:

    Thunder would have been a lot better by developing with Harden, instead of going backwards without him.

  7. Kd says:

    I won’t go anywhere. I’ll always be second…

  8. Ray says:

    Like the Heat, OKC should scour for cheap-good-veteran role players that could boost the bench. Clearly, OKC’s fate rise and fall with the performance of KD and WB. Fisher, Butler and Thabo are in the FA list. Jackson should continue to develop into a solid sixth man. Adams, could be solid as a starter. The only problem I see with OKC is help from the bench. Say they re-sign Thabo and Butler. Westbrook, Sefalosha, Durant, Ibaka and Adams as starters. Jackson, Lamb, Butler, Collison and Perkins for the bench. Obviously, the second unit’s a bit shorthanded on offense. If only Lamb could improve and add someone like Patrick Patterson, Andray Blatche, Drew Gooden or even Andrea Bargnani; someone who plays four and could score would be ideal for OKC. I say they make a strong pitch for Patrick Patterson this next season.

  9. Markus71 says:

    Kevin Durant lacks the clutch gene! (That maybe a little harsh.. lets say.. In this years Playoffs) His shooting % was down, culminating in His not scoring in the final overtime for the Thunder this season! My advice for KD is, that theres only been one Clutch shooter in History, so don’t get to down on yourself. Improve on D & do what u do best ..Score! Oh & stay out of the post!
    There’s a few tweeks that are on there way (hopefully), one being less 3PA’s by R.Westbrook, does anyone (S.Brooks) notice he shoots at .300% . Imagine if He had a couple of 3 point shooters around! This guy could be the next MVP!
    Improvement between the 2 Unique players may only happen if a New Face to take charge! Championships are sure to follow.

  10. didiernewman says:

    OKC needs a good center and some bench. Then, It will be unstoppable.

  11. Another Heat Fan says:

    Okay i’m surprised people are being so lenient for OKC

    They’ve been to the finals before. Their time was NOW. This should have been a Lebron vs. Durant showdown.
    It shouldnt have been about the spurs.
    Honestly, I know i’m gonna get hate for this, but OKC needs a change of coach. They are relying far too much on tough shots by durant and westbrook on offense, and scott brooks is encouraging and enabling this.

    We’re talking about an NBA championship. It’s not a game of HORSE. So sad that OKC lost after the amazing year Durant was having.

    • kd's abeast says:

      Of ckurse okc needs. New coach thats a given. Brooks was good for developing the team but we need one to lead us go the ring.but okc is still a very young squad of players so they r learning. And it should have been a lbj v kd showdown but we also have to remember that even though the bench didnt show up we also had 3 key players injured

  12. James says:

    Duncan > Kobe OBVIOUSLY…

    But at he end of their OVER all Careers…

    Lebron > Duncan.

    Jordan>Lebron>Duncan>Kobe.

    DONE! :)

  13. Game Time says:

    Wait the Spurs stars sat out the entire 2nd half, and they won? Pop is the greatest coach ever in my book for that move and pulling off a win.

  14. okcDoke2014 says:

    There best team was with Harden. Grizzlies and Clippers (without owners drama) will be better next year. OKC will probably be the same without upgrades which cost. Harden was the first to leave, reason does not matter

  15. kobefanjay says:

    any chance the thunder had at winning the title left with James Harden…we all know you need 3 superstars to win…they had but they just werent ready in 2012…then they didnt get a chance…thinking they can win now will just be a 5 year let down until their core is completely broken up…we have already seen the first 2 years of this…sorry but this is the reality of it all…

  16. rock says:

    to play a 39 year old Derick Fisher 33 minutes is the action of a coach with no clue……. you are at home in a closeout game with a 7 point lead at halftime. you find out that their best player will not play the 2nd half. any other team wins that game!!!!! Absolutely poor coaching, scheme, strategy. No Adjustments that resulted in a 37 point 3rd quarter for the Spurs. why would you allow a team to constantly force you into mismatches the entire 2nd half. Unreal!!!!!!

  17. Max says:

    OKC developing the Big “downunder””Kewie” would be a big help. He needs more flesh on his bones, more time, hope OKC hangs on to him (as the Spurs would do). Look how Diaw has improved. He started showing what he had in PHX., but became very unhappy with the mistake (by Steve Kerr), who hired a half court Coach to Coach a running Basketball team. I Like Kerr, and Just hope he can do better as a Warrior Coach. Lot of Great NBA players just cannot make the move from Player to being a Coach. Time will tell, but Steve is very easy and nice, to become someone that can get very heavy in a hurry. Example, Doc Rivers & POP!!!!!! Those two can dish out lot of anger when needed, can Kerr???Doubtful, but Miami has been successful with a mild manner Coach, but look who backs him up???YA, Pat Riley, does the Warrior have that kind of Muscle? NOT!

  18. Kome the Black Dumba says:

    Typical fan boys, blame the coach after lost.

    Great series nonetheless, Ibaka’s fake injury to Parker siting second half. All drama!!

    • Kalbo!! says:

      how could you say Parker’s injury is fake and drama? pulling out your star point guard on a very important close out game and the opposing team erasing the 12 point deficit? Do you have any idea on how to be a coach to make that very very tough decision? you probably don’t so just shut up.

  19. jdub455 says:

    Lebron is still King baby!!! No doubt…

    • kd's abeast says:

      U still mad he didn’t win mvp huh??. The better man won but durant actually have many reason for not winning the team is inuury prone I.e serge and reggie and even he twistes his ankle in the final minutes trying to do it all for the team but the truth is he is also fatigued because he played the most minutes in the nba this season. But wat will lbj excuse be wen he lose to these spurs, let me guess he wasn’t feeling the crowd. Bcuz spurs r out for this last ring b4 they retire and I wish them the best.

  20. Allen says:

    If they kepy Harden, They would be playing for their 2nd ring now.

  21. okc2014 says:

    Sniff. Sniff.

  22. eb says:

    OKC has enough talent to win. Their problem is the offense they run. To much 1 on 1. Westbrook is not the problem. The triangle offense would put them over the top

  23. OKCCCCC says:

    they needed points of the bench starting jackson was stupid the best thing may have been to put lamb in the starting line up to get easy looks while durant and westbrook are on the court by starting jackson there no bench points and c.butler in a good defensive player. and the time out scoot brooks called at the end of the game stopping a fast break. only thing that is needed for OKC is a great coach who can think under pressure. he is ONE of the reasons okc lost.
    westbrook and durant should not play at the same team they need to trade westbrook for kevin love thats a trade that will work for both teams

    • kd's abeast says:

      Actually of westbrook spends the summer learning to defer and become a pure pg it cud definetly work he needs to realize hes not the leader but the right hand man. And to b successfu they need to work together.

  24. Sam says:

    The clippers are getting better next year. The Rockets are also growing. OKC will have hard time than ever. If OKC wants to win it all, They need a decent center. Also they need to add some solid players to thier bench.

    • cp10 says:

      Steve Ballmer will have the Clippers team practice on an XBOX 360 even at home, lol.

    • kd's abeast says:

      They have solid bench players they just need more developing which this summer can take care of plus adams is growing into the center we can count on.

  25. celentano says:

    Until TP,TD,Ginobili aren’t taking pension at SA ,Okc never could pas them with that kind of roster they still have now !
    With other other team’s awaiting to rebuild,i d’ont see Okc winning a title soon in the future or maybe a decade!

    • kd's abeast says:

      Yea ok u do realize okc matches up better against the spurs and if it wasnt for the injuries and the no show from the bench this series 80 % chance could have went another way.

      • eSulting says:

        agree. but all of the west teams could not get past THOSE spurs, deep and well coached spurs. I dont think miami can, so let us remain patient, unlike a lot of hypocrit fans here saying its all over and never will change and willing to blow the trigger.

        Of course OKC needs to get deeper, and maybe an more experienced coach could also help – brooks did a good job, solid, but maybe he isnt the right guy to get KD & RW to the next level (to become men, that is).

        Anyway OKC’s time will come – we’re saying this for 3 years now, and the reason is again SA & MIA just being 2 great teams peaking right at this time. But SA will undergo drastic changes the next couple of seasons when Timmy retires, while MIAMIs future also unclear with the big 3 (a lot of those retire & trade questions will be determined by the outcome of this years finals I guess). So there will be a window for this OKC team.

        But let me get this straight: dont think that means there is a window for the clips, rockets, grizz or warriors – they all lack some parts, and over all are NEVER talented enough to win a series against a healthy OKC team. Look, Russel is a freak of nature, the most overpowered athletic guard behind LeBron. KD could very well end up beeing the best scorer – of ALL TIMES… bottom line this duo is special, and it will take a lot to overcome them. You can fantasize and hope – but there need to be major changes if anyone will win against OKC not called MIA or SA. Just saying

  26. okcDoke2014 says:

    Tough road for Spurs even with home court advantage, but hopeful they can pull it off

  27. yoji says:

    3 things OKC needed:

    1. A new coach to implement a system both on offense and defense. They rely on too much one on one plays and they get lost frequently in their defensive rotation. Scott Brooks cannot do it.
    Look at the two teams in the finals, their ball rotation and team defense of these teams are almost always on point.

    2. Bench support. They really miss James Harden against the Spurs.

    3. Durant needs to develop his low post game both offenssively and defensively. He could easily take smaller guys at the post and create offense from there. And he needs to do better job on defending the post, Diaw always got his way at the post against KD.

    • kd's abeast says:

      We can beat the spurs without harden. He is a choker always will b ans okc didn’t miss him, we were just plagued by injuries. The fact still remains spurs have never beaten okc healthy.

      • HeatFansDon'tExist says:

        Usually most teams aren’t 100% healthy in the playoffs. The Spurs didn’t have Parker the second half of game 6 and they were losing at halftime. So what’s your excuse for the Thunder losing game 6 then?

      • kd's abeast says:

        Kd twisted his ankle in like the 4th quarter. 3 injries > 1. Thunder dont do well if kd cant go beast and as playoffs went on they were losing more and more ppl, also the bench never showed up, nd in the final minutes whicb were crucial wes t bdook spent 4 of them not giving the ball to kd, even though he was practically screaming at the top of his lungs.

    • kd's abeast says:

      The spurs don’t need parker they’ve proven that this regular season and he was 1 injured person we had 3. 3> 1. Nd secondly there entire team showed up, the only ppl on the thunder that showed up was kd, russ, ibaka, and reggie and late in the game russ started making sum bad plays like kd not touching the ball for 4 mins.

      • HeatFansDon'tExist says:

        Injuries happen to everyone though. Think about all the what ifs for every team in every league over the years that could’ve won a championship if they didn’t have an injury or injuries. Those are the only Thunder players that showed up because that’s all they really have. Coach Brooks lost that game by himself. He should have had Durant handle the ball instead of Westbrook at the end. They need to make Westbrook the SG and get a real PG. Or they could have Jackson be the starting PG, but then that’s one more player they need to replace on the bench.

  28. okcDoke2014 says:

    2010-2011 and 2011-2012 were the best teams with Harden for the Thunder, they were growing and that growth has stalled since with less team ball.

  29. Raymond Allen says:

    To be honest, “Coach” Brooks doesn’t deserve a job. That man is not tactful at all. I rarely see OKC run a play. A legendary coach like Pop was bound to think of a strategy to beat a three man team. KD is my favorite player and it was tough to see him lose. But to be honest, I don’t think they would have given the Heat much trouble in the Finals, so I am hoping SAS will take them down. Yes I am a Celtics fan, and i can’t stand the conceited LeBron and his girlfriend Wade.

    • TMac says:

      I know why you mad, bro. Heat kept stopping the Celtics from going anywhere.

    • 37yrfan says:

      …..and don’t forget your “bro”….rayray who decided to leave the sinking ship ……. again……imagine the Sonics/Thunder with Allen, KD AND Westbrook……buy rayray got HIS rings though………

      • HeatFansDon'tExist says:

        The Bucks trading Allen was the beginning of the Bucks being what they have been the past 10+ years. The Celtics traded for Allen before the Sonics drafted Durant. He even said that he thought the Sonics would have been good with Durant, Lewis, and himself. I wondered how good Allen, Durant, and Westbrook could have been together a few times myself. And he left the Celtics because they were going to reduce his role. If you’re going to play a lesser role for either team you might as well do it for a team that has a better chance of winning a title. But not including Boston I would say he never “left the sinking ship.” It wasn’t his choice to be traded from Milwaukee or Seattle.

  30. One team had to win says:

    Didn’t expect the Spurs to pull it out on OKC’s floor — but then I also didn’t expect the prior 3 blow-outs. Let’s face it — the Spurs were the better team this year. But the Thunder are here to stay and will likely contend for the Western Conference finals as long as Durant and Westbrook remain together on the team.

  31. Jason says:

    Spurs went to s zone D in game 4 and OKC went on a 27 pt lead. Pop went back to a traditional D and put in his bench znd brought thee game to a 9 point loss. But he learnt a lot from that loss and used it in remaining games. Brooks went to a small lineup and a switching D which lit up SA eyes as they continuously to advantage of the sure mismatches such a D presented. SA took control of the game offensively and Brooks never adjusted consequently tiring his lineup and costing them the game in OT.

  32. Jason says:

    Everyone questioning okc bench. I totally disagree. Send there bench to SA and Pop will turn them into productive players. Lamb and Jones are athletic swing men teams would love. These guys contributed much during Westbrooks absence, January in particular when Durant played the point forward. When Westbrook returned Brooks limited his bench and even more so in the playoffs. OKC was worn down by a fresher, older Spurs TEAM that rotated 10 – 11 deep.

  33. queen of kings says:

    the mvp leads the team to championship ring joins the league of legends

    • kd's abeast says:

      I want u to tell me one mvps that have done what kd did this season. And mvp that singlehandedly led his team to the second best record in the nba, an mvp who played without his second hand man for most of the season, an mvp who is just 25 years old an has the entire league talking about him, an mvp who most already refers to as unguardable, an mvp who doesn’t make excuses and mans up to every challenge, an mvp who has the ability to dribble down the court an draw all 5 defenders to him, an mvp who cant play without being double teamed, an mvp who is probably the purest volume scorer the nba has ever seen, an mvp who’s second hand man had minute restrictions upon coming back, an mvp who’s shooting get better every year believe it or not, an mvp who led his team to their division title, an mvp who played in the western conference, an mvp who played as much minutes or more than durant have this season which is over 3000, an mvp who pushed his team to the wcf, and mvp who always showed up in the most important games, and mvp that broke alot of the goats records in 1 season, and mvp who was also won a scoring title in the same season, an mvp who made the team better when his second best player was out, an mvp who helped teach the younger guys on his team, an mvp who was giving everyone a confidence boost when they needed it, and mvp that wud singlehandedly turn games around and let others on the team believe they could do it when they needed it, an mvp who sacrificed his body last night 50 mins and a twisted ankle to try and put his team back in a game where only the starters showed up, an mvp who has carried the weight as the go to guy and responded to it like a beast, an mvp who is not in his prime an is already tied with a man who has been in the league for longer, an mvp who makes it hard for anyone to imagine him getting better when he finally reaches his prime because he is already crazy great, an mvp who everyone recognizes as a future hof even though hes just 25, an mvp who many will admit they cant guard one on one, an mvp as skinny as kd but can still have a huge effect on a game, an mvp that if he was to leave the team today, that team wud go back to having a record worst than the teams in the east and an mvp who improved every single 1 of his stats in 1 season and an mvp as humble as kd who instead of taking the praise shined it on his teammates. If you can tell me one mvp who have done all that in one season then I will look into it, other than that everyone needs to stop being durant haters and admit that this kid is only 25 and has 2 more years before the championship pressure should begin to fall on him. And should also not compare him to any other because he is not like any other mvp we have seen. SORRY for the long essay but this kid has been amazing in 1 short season, and anyone who tries to speak hate on h because of a fatigued filled post season in which he did show up havent been watching his game.

      • HeatFansDon'tExist says:

        If you’re trying to say Durant is better than Jordan just stop. Lebron is better than Durant because he can play in the post and he plays defense way better than Durant. He just needs to work on his defense and post play and he will more than likely be pretty much unstoppable. Durant denfinitely deserved the MVP more than anyone this year though.And I wouldn’t say the pressure to win a championship is on Durant’s shoulders alone. It’s on the entire Thunder organization because they aren’t doing anything to help Durant win a championship. Trading Harden was a mistake period. They got nothing usefull in return and would have been better off tring to make one last run with him.

    • kd's abeast says:

      And okc team wasnt actually set to be championship contenders till 2016 they told the entire media that theh were building a team to be great in 2016 not now so they have time

  34. SpursFan says:

    Sure, adding some depth to thunder’s bench will help, but their offense is just always 1-on-1 and no execution of plays at all. cant win a championship like that

  35. KDfan says:

    I was at the game last night. Both teams gave their best. Playoffs are about match ups and Pop made better adjustments than Scottie. Win-lose aside, OUR THUNDER had a great and successful season. I am proud of everyone on the team and the organization for their effort and what they stand for. Our time will come and we will have the ring(s), but OKC Thunder wants to do it in the right way. It is not easy to have some of the teams star players injured and having to make adjustments then having to readjust when they return. Despite that, we achieved a lot this year in a very tough and loaded western conference. We need to develop our bench better and get it deeper, just like the Spurs. It did not happen overnight for the Spurs, and it’ll not happen overnight for us too. The Thunder organization is somewhat modeled after the Spurs and I’m proud of that. I would also like to congratulate the Spurs on a well fought victory. I am again looking forward to another great season next year. Thank you OKC Thunder for giving us so much joy, love and community support. We Are And Always Be Thunder!

  36. Justin says:

    Well, to give Scott Brooks some slack, he has very few two way players. On their roster, they have Serge Ibaka, Kevin Durant, and Russel Westbrook and even KD and Russell play questionable defense at times. Derek Fisher, Reggie Jackson, and Jeremy Lamb are some good offensive guards but they lack defensive competency. Steven Adams is a foul liability on defense as he racked the most personals in limited time. Thabo, Perkins, and Collison are limited to defense and are non scorers Just look at their starting lineup: Russell, Thabo, Kevin, Serge, and Kendrick. Every time they started, they have two offensive non factors which makes it hard regardless for Kevin Durant and Russell even if they had some designed formations. And even if you have Reggie Jackson starting for Thabo, you bench is now exponentially weaker causing more minutes for the star players. In my opinion, they need a veteran shooting guard that can shoot the three (Jodie Meeks, Kyle Korver) and a competent bench player to give KD some rest.

    • Marco29 says:

      Why don’t you mention Buttler? He produced intersting minutes in games 3 & 4 but was hardly seen in games 5 & 6 while OKC was desperalty needing points

  37. MasterPiece says:

    The main issues that the Thunder have is not Coach Brooks c’mon guys they must get rid of Perkins !!!! That’s not a center who can match up against true centers like Duncan, Bosh & company. Sam Presti must improve that bench too indeed it looks really awful but the Thunder are limited by the salary cap right now it won’t be easy to attract some sharpshooters

    • Marco29 says:

      What about Butler? Why did he not play in Game 6? Was he hurt of was it a coach decision?
      Sure, he struggled on the defensive end vs Diaw but he could have contributed on the offensive end, bringing a more balanced socoring.

  38. anil says:

    I think they need one more big player to join this team. Durant needs support, he cant do it all by himself no matter how great he is. I mean he is no Michael Jordan. I think one more strong player should do the trick. Their bench is too inconsistent and this adds undue pressure on Durant.

    • Ari says:

      Jordan never won without pippen

      • HeatFansDon'tExist says:

        It doesn’t matter if Jordan never won without Pippen. Durant isn’t even close to as good as Jordan. Jordan was one of the greatest players on defense ever. I’d take Pippen over Durant for that matter because Pippen was one the best players on defense during his career as well. Westbrook turns the ball over and takes some ridiculous shots. The Thunder just need to play Westbrook as a SG because that’s what he is. Then play Jackson as the PG or get a real PG because they need Jackson to come off the bench. If they had a real offensive scheme instead of 1-1 they could use players like Perkins and the other bigs effectively. You can’t expect them score when they never touch the ball on offense.

  39. Peter says:

    Shame The Thunder could not make the finals. The Heat versus the Thunder would have been fantastic. The KD vs LBJ match up is what everyone wanted. Also, the Thunder would have given the Heat more to deal with because of their youngness and finesse. Oh well, not to be this time. On another note, Westbrook needs to make the players around him better and the only way he can do this is to let others take shots from time to time; he needs to learn a lesson or two from Lebron James. Also, he has to believe KD is better than him because that is why KD got the MVP award.

  40. cp10 says:

    Great run, mistakes near the end were OKC’s undoing. Stay healthy for next season!!

  41. NBA says:

    Heat Hater. OKC will never win a championship with a selfish guard like Westbrook.

  42. Yusa says:

    Congratulation OKC Thunder ! It was a good year for you guys. We’ve seen OKC how they improve every year. I hope you’ll get a ring someday. However, I just don’t like how the Thunder force their offense through Westbrook which is ineffecient, I thought Durant will take over the game. Durant was itching to score but couldn’t get the rhythm with Westbrook hogging the play and the ball. Oh well it maybe Scott Brooks decision, I don’t know. Still a great series.

  43. celentano says:

    the only roadblock sa has is parker injury,severe or not.i can see sa winning a few games without tp but not 4 games without him! father time= is knocking on sa door again?that demonic team,the beast from east aka “the cheat” await`s with a smile smile again!

  44. Chuck says:

    KD as well as I am certain the clueless coach still are satisfied in spite of playing the Spurs at home and without their best player. As usual Brooks never adjusted, preferring to play his usual one on one, not bringing in a big against Duncan, and allowing his two stars to play out of control. The guts of the team have layer together for four years and at times looked like a street pu team. The Thunder could have easily lost in the first two rounds. Sam be merciful, and pull the plug on Brooks. You need a mature coach who knows how to coach, have schemes and lower the turnovers to a tolerable level.

  45. kenken says:

    peace of advice to coach brooks. manage the minutes of his star player. fatigue was evident during the winning moments of the game.

    • TMac says:

      That’s hard when you have nobody in the bench that can help score consistently. That was the glaring difference between the Spurs and Thunder.

  46. arsicolangbayan says:

    The Thunder won’t go anywhere as long as Scott Brooks is their coach. Damn!

  47. allaroundballer says:

    Maybe 25YO superstars just can’t win it, not without another veteran superstar. The last young superstar was Duncan + Robinson. I think 28YO is the peak performance, physical n mental

  48. Kingdom Man says:

    Where do we rank TD now? Pierce, Nash & KG are all but cashing cheques whilst Timmy is still dominating younger players. As a Spurs die hard fan I could not be happier that we get a chance to redeem ourselves. If Tim gets 5 rings, how could even the most ardent Kobe fan say he’s better than Tim? Tim has done so much more with so much less, he’s never had a ready made superstar like Kobe, in fact, he’s had 2!!! Shaq & Pau. When TP came into the league, he was fast and aggressive but couldn’t shoot outside the paint to save his life, he’s still a shaky foul shooter and Manu, whilst spectacular, has always been injury prone. David Robinson? He was 33 years old when Tim was a rookie. I might be a homer but the more and more I contemplate the entirety of Tim’s career, I’m thinking he’s better that Magic & Larry. I now await all the vitriol to arrive. One of the criteria I use is: has the player maximised his full potential? Larry (back injuries, poor minutes management by coaching staff) and Magic (early retirement) can’t say they did. Let me ask you this: what was your favourite player doing when he was 38 years old…

    • Fastnuf says:

      At age 38, (and 39, 40, 41 AND 42) my favorite player was still tossing up sky hooks. At age 38 he was still averaging 20+ points a game!

    • OKC says:

      timmy is the best power forward of all time, but i also feel that being in pop’s system helped him out alot

    • anonynous says:

      I’m not a fan of Kobe, but

    • yanick says:

      What are u on? Gasol has never been a superstar he ‘s always been an allstar, shaq was the only superstar kobe had..tim won 4 rings 2 in which he wasnt the mvp, parker and ginobili dominated in 2 of the 4 rings they won, how can u say he did it with much less…for the past 4 seasons tim has not even been the best on his team, I have nothing against tim but stop spewing nonsense

  49. okcDoke2014 says:

    Three blowouts and OT win, Spurs best in the West and I hope there D can shut down Heat !