A year ago, the Thunder fell to the eventual-champion Dallas Mavericks in five games. This year, the Thunder will again head to Texas, this time to face top-seeded San Antonio, which hasn't lost a game this postseason.
The Thunder and Lakers battled back and forth for three quarters, with neither team leading by more than a few buckets, but Los Angeles ran out of gas and Oklahoma City blew past the Lakers in the final quarter. OKC outscored LA 23-13 in the fourth quarter.
Russell Westbrook led the Thunder with 28 points on 12-for-25 shooting. Kevin Durant had 25 points and 10 rebounds. James Harden had 17 points and eight rebounds. Perhaps the biggest key was the 51-35 rebounding edge for Oklahoma City, including a 14-3 margin on the offensive glass.
Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 42 points, but he didn't get much help from his teammates outside of Pau Gasol's 14 points and 16 rebounds. The result was a lot of this in the final quarter:
Having now dispatched the Western Conference champions from the previous four years, the Thunder will look to take that next step to the NBA Finals. But the Spurs have been literally unbeatable for more than a month. In fact, the last time a team other than the Lakers, Mavs or Spurs came out of the West was 1998, when the Jazz lost to the Bulls.
But this could be one of the most-exciting series in recent memory.