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2013 Rematch! Heat vs. Spurs For The NBA Finals

www.usatoday.com

OKLAHOMA CITY – Of all the Gregg Popovich pearls of wisdom throughout the years, the one most salient to his San Antonio Spurs system is unofficially known as “good to great.”It’s not a complicated concept: great shots are better than good ones, so players must train themselves to make the extra pass without any regard for their own individual pursuits. The Spurs went from good to great yet again on Saturday night at the Chesapeake Energy Arena, winning Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals 112-107 in overtime against the Oklahoma City Thunder despite not having point guard Tony Parker for the second half.Revenge against the Miami Heat may be theirs after all, as they will have the 2013 rematch they dreamed about in the Finals and with it the chance to end those infamous nightmares. The NBA Finals rematch is the first since 1998, when Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls repeated over Karl Malone’s Utah Jazz.”We got four more to win. We’ll do it this time,” Spurs legend Tim Duncan declared on TNT after the finish.BOX SCORE: Spurs 112, Thunder 97FINALS: Schedule, analysis and pickDuncan, Manu Ginobili and Boris Diaw split the scoring duties in overtime, and the Spurs forced the Thunder into one of 11 shooting.Diaw – so often mocked in the past for his pear-shaped physique – was huge in all the right ways in the closeout game. He had 26 points on eight of 14 shooting, and his presence continued to allow the Spurs to space the floor by bringing Thunder big man Serge Ibaka out on the perimeter.”We ran some things for Manu, some things for Boris and some things for Timmy,” Popovich said. “A lot of guys came through. … Boris was fantastic all night long; he was really good on both ends of the court.”Duncan finished with 19 points and 15 rebounds, while San Antonio won despite shooting just 40.4% from the floor. The Thunder’s dynamic duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook certainly turned in big games – 31 points, 14 rebounds for Durant and 34 points to go with eight assists and seven rebounds for Westbrook – but they had as many turnovers between them (14) as the Spurs had as a team.When the Spurs announced that Parker would not return with an ankle injury, the news had the most curious of effects. Starting with the fans, then most certainly with the Thunder, the energy in the building seemed to wane.With Parker’s replacement, Cory Joseph, leading the way and everyone from Duncan to Ginobili to Danny Green to Tiago Splitter pitching in, San Antonio did the unthinkable: a 37-20 third quarter for the ages that was vintage Spurs in every which way.Kawhi Leonard hit a jumper to start it all. Matt Bonner buried a three-pointer soon thereafter. The rest of them would pitch in from there, with the Thunder clearly breathing a sigh of relief that would lead to their undoing. And really, they should have seen this coming.”That third quarter hurt us,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “That’s the thing about this basketball team we’re playing against. If you relax for two minutes, they can go on a 12-3 run.”

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