“This is not our championship,” said Kevin Durant after an 113-99 victory over the San Antonio Spurs in Game 6 which sent the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Western Conference Finals for the fourth time in the past six years.
It felt like a championship. The Thunder were given little to no chance against the heavily favored Spurs. In fact, the Western Conference Finals matchup of the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs had been planned for months. The Thunder ruined those plans.
The victory, however, didn’t really clear anything up for the Thunder. With their biggest star approaching free agency, it’s still unclear whether or not advancing farther in the playoffs will change his attitude about leaving OKC. For Durant, that’s the last thing on his mind.
“Man, it’s just staying in the moment, enjoying everything along the way, embracing every moment—good and bad,” said Durant. “I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for us or anything.”
It’s been a rough season for the Thunder, making their postseason run all the more improbable.
“It was a different season for us. With Coach [Monty] Williams not being here—he’s such a huge voice in the locker room—to Dion, whose brother was murdered, just knowing the fact that we weren’t in this position last year. There’s so many emotions we try to bottle in, and also let it out when we’re on the floor. And I think guys did a good job of using basketball as a refuge, just letting it out and letting that be a shield for everything and just being yourself when you’re out here on the floor.”
The Warriors will certainly be a challenge, even for a team as motivated as this one. The Thunder were 0-3 against Golden State in the regular season; however, Durant dominated those matchups, averaging over 36 points and 12 rebounds per game.
“It’s fun that we’re here, but we can’t get too excited.”
Not yet. It’s only the Western Conference Finals. And depending on how things turn out, it may also be Durant’s last series in blue, orange, and white.