Kevin Durant took a key step toward becoming an all-time great by winning the MVP award this season.
He will have to wait at least another year for the crown jewel.
The San Antonio Spurs are back in the NBA Finals after beating the Oklahoma City Thunder 112-107 in overtime on Saturday night in Game 6 to set up a rematch with the Miami Heat.
Durant went down fighting. He had 31 points and 14 rebounds. But he’ll have to watch again as the player he’s most often compared to, LeBron James, seeks his third consecutive championship.
“It’s just tough losing like this, man,” Durant said. “There’s not much more I can say.”
It was the second straight season Oklahoma City’s season ended before Durant could get a chance at a 2012 Finals re-match against LeBron. The Thunder beat the Spurs in the West Finals in 2012 before losing in the conference semis to Memphis last year.
“They have a good team,” Durant said. “Tony Parker is not their whole team. You’ve seen games where he wasn’t playing and they still won. They’ve got a good system. They’ve got guys they can plug in, and they came in and made plays.”
Russell Westbrook had 34 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and six steals, Reggie Jackson scored 21 points and Serge Ibaka added 16 for the Thunder. Oklahoma City overcame a 12-point deficit in the fourth quarter to force overtime.
The Thunder came incredibly close to forcing a Game 7.
In overtime, Tim Duncan’s shot from the baseline rattled in to give the Spurs a 110-107 lead with 19 seconds to go.
Durant missed a good look at a three-pointer, and the Spurs rebounded and went to the line. Boris Diaw missed the first and made the second free throw to make it a four-point lead for the Spurs. Westbrook missed a wild three-pointer, and Spurs wrapped it up.
“They could have put us away to start the fourth quarter, but they didn’t and we forced the overtime,” Westbrook said. “Teams make runs. That’s the name of our game. But we did a good job of bouncing back, but obviously, we didn’t finish off well.”
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