Durant and Thunder Must Wait Another Year for NBA Title Chance
The Oklahoma City Thunder once again lost in the playoffs putting an NBA title for Kevin Durant and his teammates on hold for another season.
This past regular season, Durant moved up to elite status with his MVP award. However, his wait for an NBA title will last another year at least as the Thunder was eliminated on Saturday night from the playoff by the San Antonio Spurs.
San Antonio defeated Oklahoma City 112-107 in overtime to win the Western Conference Finals best of seven series 4-2.
The Spurs will now play the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals for the second straight season.
In the loss on Saturday, Durant scored 31 points and grabbed 14 rebounds. However, he will have to watch LeBron James attempt to win his third straight NBA Championship.
Following the game on Saturday, Durant could not say much more than it was tough losing.
Russell Westbrook scored 34 points, dished out 8 assists, grabbed 7 rebounds and had 6 steals in the loss for the Thunder.
The Thunder was down by 12 points during the fourth quarter only to rally and force the game to overtime where they could not overcome the fine team play of San Antonio.
The game may have been Derek Fisher’s last. The reserve guard for the Thunder is 39, but played the entire fourth quarter as well as overtime on Saturday.
Fisher said he would decide quickly about his future in the NBA. His decision will affect a number of people, including the New York Knicks who are interested in Fisher coaching their team.
The Thunder lost the first two games of the series as they had to play without power forward Serge Ibaka. The Thunder defensive specialist limped off the floor in the final game of the Western Conference semifinals against the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Thunder at first ruled Ibaka out of the rest of the postseason. However in Game 3 Ibaka returned and helped to wins in Games 3 and 4.
Nevertheless, the Thunder then lost two straight to the San Antonio Spurs and the series 4-2. The Thunder now must wait until next season for another shot at the NBA Title. It will be a long hot summer in Oklahoma City for the Thunder.
Next season the Thunder is expected to have more pressure from Northwest division rivals the Portland Trail Blazers.
Portland ended the season just 5 games behind the Thunder, but have a young team that gained much experience during the season and in their time during this year’s postseason.
Both the Minnesota Timberwolves and Denver Nuggets must rebuild in order to become contenders.
Minnesota’s future is still up in the year as rumors have Kevin Love opting out of his contract at the end of next. However, the Timberwolves would like to make a trade so they get something better in return for Love if he decides to leave.