Series mired in controversy, questionable calls

On paper, a casual observer might note that the Oklahoma City Thunder have managed to take a 3-2 series lead over the San Antonio Spurs in the second round of the Western Conference Playoffs -- but this doesn't tell the whole story. In terms of individual stats, Russell "Little Rage" Westbrook was a beast for his team, putting up 35 points, pulling down 11 rebounds, and one assist shy of a triple-double with 9 boards. His partner in crime, Kevin Durant put up 23 points of his own, but it was Westbrook's 3-point-play toward the end of regulation after San Antonio failed to secure an intentional foul that essentially put the game away.

For the Spurs, Kawhi Leonard's 26 points were not enough to seal the victory for his team, as San Antonio has now dropped 2 games at home to the Thunder -- a venue in which they've been dominant all season long. Sharpshooter Danny Green poured in 20 points on 6 for 9 from beyond the arc, and LaMarcus Aldridge added 20 of his own in the loss.

Beyond the numbers

There are some interesting storylines playing out on both sides that have nothing to do with the box score. For the Thunder, with the rumors of Kevin Durant's free agency, this could very well be the last shot for he and Westbrook to make a deep run in the Playoffs as a dynamic duo. Up until now, the Thunder have failed to turn their talent into winning, and this may be the last time we see the Thunder with this lineup, and Kevin Durant in this uniform.

For the Spurs, it's no secret that the window for Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker is nearly closed for good. With the emergence of Kawhi Leonard and the addition of LaMarcus Aldridge, this is essentially the last shot for the Spurs' "big three" to win a title together, and the last chapter in their hugely successful championship run.

Ultimately, the stakes are high for both teams, and there's a lot riding on the success or failure of both. While most people have the Golden State Warriors as the run away favorite to repeat for the title, one can argue that both the Thunder and San Antonio stand the best chance of at least competing with the Warriors and making it a series.

The one caveat, however, is that only one of these two teams will get the chance -- and they'll have to earn it.

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