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May 30, 2014
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Just when we thought that the NBA Conference Finals were all but decidedwith the Pacers and Thunder seemingly dead in the watera series of unexpected developments arose to completely change the complexion of the two series. The result: a thrilling, unexpected dive in a rollercoaster ride that we thought would simply cruise to the finish line. 

What developments? From Lance Stephenson's antics to Westbrook's nuclear explosion, we tackle them all in this edition of FHM's #NBAPlayoffs2014 Weekly Recap!


A GOOD OL' WESTERN SHOOTOUT: Oklahoma City Thunder vs. San Antonio Spurs (SAS 3-2 OKC)

Doctor Of The Week: Donnie Strack M.D.

Dr. Donnie Strack, or “The Witchdoctor of Oklahoma” as we’d like to call him, is the man behind Serge Ibaka’s unbelievable recovery. The Thunder’s Director of Medical Services miraculously vanquished Serge’s supposed season-ending injury, sending the big Congan back to the court as if nothing had happened.

"Boy, I sure hope Serge doesn't find out that the magic juice
I gave him was actually just lime water #SpaceJam"

The unforeseen comeback of the shot-erasing power forward not only filled the void in OKC’s frontline, but it also served as a huge inspiration in the Thunder’s consecutive victories in Games 3 and 4. You could almost hear Kevin Durant say: “Dr. Donnie, you the real MVP!”

Ibaka's return resulted in an OKC-dominated Phantom recap from the NBA:

 


Storm Serge

The Beast From Congo’s reemergence wreaked havoc in the Spurs usually smooth-flowing offense. Open lanes and easy lay-ups became scarce, especially for Tony Parker whose forays to the basket were greeted by Ibaka’s domineering presence.

The shot-block specialist has already amassed nine swats and has altered a whole lot of Spurs field goal attempts upon his return. Oklahoma’s defensive anchor is back and his teammates hope they'll have this 6’10”, 235-pound thorn in San Antonio’s side for the rest of the series.

In this edition of "Let's pick on the guy who blew out his knees..."

The question here is just how long can Serge hold up? How long will his voodoo last? No matter what anyone says, he's fresh off an injury. Likewise, it appears that Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich has found a way to effectively negate Ibaka's presence in the lane. He inserted marksman (and currently the NBA's whitest person) Matt Bonner in the starting lineup to force Ibaka out of the shaded lane. Your move, Scott Brooks. 

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A 40, 10 and 5 masterpiece by Russell Westbrook

In Game 4, Russell Westbrook imposed his otherworldly athleticism on the Thunder’s veteran opposition. The Spurs had no answer for the force-of-nature point guard who ran both ends of the floor like Usain Bolt and consistently attacked the rim with reckless abandon.

He was masterful in sharing the basketball (10 dimes) and his patented pull-up jumper coming from a 300 mph sprint was on point, allowing him to score 40 big points on an impressive 50-percent FG clip.

He now shares a record with his Airness himself, Michael Jordan, as the only dudes to ever tally a stat line of 40 points, 10 assists, and five steals in a playoff game.

This play sums up just how Westbrook athletically overpowered the Spurs:

 


The Spurs hit back big-time

The Spurs returned to San Antonio for Game 5 and once again obliterated the Thunder, moving one win away from a second straight Finals appearance.

Experience, guile, team play, and precise execution prevailed over freakish athleticism in the AT&T Center as the Spurs’ ageless stars lit it up. Duncan’s 22 and Ginobili’s 19 led San Antonio’s balanced assault, with four other Spurs scoring in double figures.

Manu's big game also inspired terrible yet amusing movie-based puns

The Silver-And-Black displayed their championship poise as they handed the exuberant Thunder a 28-point drubbing, 117-89, proving once again that they're the basketball equivalent of X-Men’s Wolverine (read: they're really hard to kill).


A few key details for the NBA Trivia-hound

  • Game 5 was the first time the Spurs had beaten OKC with Ibaka playing in seven games

  • The average scoring margin when the Spurs win is now 26.7 points. That's massive!

  • Tim Duncan is now just three double-doubles away from matching Magic Johnson's record of 154 Playoff DDs.


NEXT: Is Lance Stephenson crazy in the coconut?


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