The upstart Oklahoma City Thunder defeated Los Angeles Lakers Monday night to win their best of seven semifinal series 4-1. The Thunder will now face the San Antonio Spurs in the western conference finals to see who will go on to the NBA finals. It will be the Thunder’s second consecutive trip to the conference finals. Last year the Thunder lost to the eventual NBA Champion, the Dallas Mavericks.
Oklahoma City won last night’s contest 106-90. Russell Westbrook led the Thunder in scoring on the night with 28 points, while Kevin Durant had 25 plus 10 rebounds. Two three-point plays by Westbrook helped the Thunder go on a 14-3 run that put them ahead for good near the end of the third quarter. Starting the fourth quarter, the Thunder went on a 10-0 run behind Durant’s two three-point baskets to increase their lead to 93-77. After that run, the Lakers never closed the gap to less than 13.
All Star Kobe Bryant who scored 42 points led the Lakers. He played all but two minutes in the game. It was the 13th time Bryant had scored 40 or more points in his playoff career.
This is the second time the Oklahoma City franchise has played in the conference finals in consecutive seasons. The first time was in 1979 when they were the Seattle Supersonics and won the NBA title.
Things will not get any easier for the Thunder as they will run into a San Antonio team that has sweep their first two opponents in the playoffs and has won 18 straight games overall.