After logging a playoff high 48 minutes, part of his most complete game of the post season, Durant spent the brief stoppage in play to seek out his family.
Durant’s embrace with his mother and two brothers signified the end of an epic comeback, both in Game 6 and in the entire series while confirming Oklahoma City’s arrival as a legitimate contender.
A 34 point, 14 rebound, five assist, two block performance from Durant enabled the Thunder to overcome so much against San Antonio.
In Game 6 alone, Oklahoma City stormed back from an 18 point deficit, Tony Parker’s involvement in the first 28 points from the Spurs, a 63-point first half and unconscionable long range shooting from Stephen Jackson off the bench.
Each member of the star trio provided a pivotal piece of the Thunder’s fourth quarter comeback.
Harden once again sank a key 3-pointer, doubling Oklahoma City’s lead with three minutes remaining, marking its biggest advantage of the game as he finished with 16 points, five rebounds and four assists.
Russell Westbrook capped his finest performance of the series by slipping behind Parker for a layup, and the foul. His free throw attempt drew back iron, but Westbrook sailed in for the offensive rebound and another possession, taking 20 key seconds off the clock.
As the only starter not to shoot at least 50 percent from the floor, Kendrick Perkins was left open late in the game. He missed a layup after Westbrook’s offensive rebound and missed a wide open 17 footer, allowing Parker to race down court and cut the lead to four.
Throughout the first half, San Antonio couldn’t miss. During the most important sequence of the game, it failed to find the same success.
Harden missed a 3-pointer with 58 seconds left, providing the Spurs an opportunity to cut into a four point deficit.
Tim Duncan had his layup attempt blocked by Perkins, as the Thunder defense collapsed on Duncan, he kicked the ball out to an open shooter on the perimeter.
Jackson totaled 23 points off the bench, connecting on his first six shots from beyond the arc and drew two fouls on 3-point attempts.
In 14 post season games, Jackson led all performers by shooting 60.5 percent from beyond the arc, but his wide open attempt sailed long, hitting off the back of the rim.
Duncan once again secured the offensive rebound, part of his 25 points, 14 rebound, two block effort and found Parker.
Parker was on fire over the first 24 minutes, totaling 21 points and 10 rebounds as the Spurs jumped to a 15 point lead at halftime.
His final shot attempt of the Western Conference finals fell short and was the last real threat the Spurs could muster.
Durant drew a double team and was able to find Perkins for an emphatic slam, redeeming Perkins for two misses just minutes earlier.
The Thunder, a team with an average age of 26.1 years on its roster, continued its championship track Wednesday night.
Two years ago, Oklahoma City served as the toughest obstacle as the eighth seed during the Lakers championship run in 2010. Last season, the Thunder fell in five games to Dallas, the eventual champions, in the Western Conference finals.
Last night, Durant was able to celebrate with 18,203 rabid fans, and his family, at Chesapeake Energy Arena, as the Thunder capped an impressive march to the Finals.
The Thunder have posted a 12-3 record this post season, reduced its turnover margin to 11.4 per game, the second fewest of any playoff team after leading the league in turnovers during the regular season and are outscoring opponents by 6.7 points per game, highest of any team in the NBA.
With such a young team, 2012 could mark the beginning of an extended championship run for the Thunder.
Any thoughts of Oklahoma City advancing seemed distant during the first half.
Parker ignited the fast start for the Spurs, connecting on seven shots, dishing out five assists and was directly involved in the first 28 points of the game for his team.
Eight of the Spurs 11 made 3-pointers came in the first half, with Jackson connecting three times in the second quarter.
The Thunder needed a buzzer beating 3-pointer from Durant to send the game into the half trailing by 15.
For as well as Parker played, Westbrook responded with his best game of the series, totaling 25 points, eight rebounds and five assists.
Kawhi Leonard missed a 3-pointer with nine seconds remaining, allowing Durant to grab his 14th rebound, his highest total of the playoffs and soak in the final seconds before heading to his first championship appearance.
Durant raced past mid-court and raised a fist in the air, sending the crowd into a frenzy and the Thunder to its first championship appearance since relocating to Oklahoma City in 2008.
With home-court advantage in the Finals, the celebration could just be starting in Oklahoma City.