Oklahoma City Thunder All-Star forward Kevin Durant is as composed as any superstar player in the league, but his emotions finally overwhelmed him late during Game 6 of the Western Conference finals against the San Antonio Spurs.
With less than a minute remaining in the game, Durant dished an assist to Thunder center Kendrick Perkins, who finished the play with a two-hand slam. The dunk gave Oklahoma City a 6-point lead with 24 seconds remaining in regulation, effectively sealing his first trip to the NBA Finals.
After Thunder guard James Harden secured the defensive rebound after Spurs guard Manu Ginobili missed a 3-pointer on the next possession, The Spurs were forced to foul. At the dead ball, Durant raised his arms triumphantly and bee-lined for his mother, Wanda Pratt, who was sitting in her customary courtside seat. He then embraced her with a giant bear hug.
That's about as iconic as it gets.
"It's a blessing, first off, to play with this great group of players, for this great city," Durant said in a televised post-game interview. "And I'm obviously so happy my mom gets to watch me every single game -- my brothers, my friends. I'm just blessed right now."
The Thunder went on to defeat the Spurs 107-99 to win the series 4-2. Durant finished with 34 points, 14 rebounds and five assists and played all 48 minutes.
"This was the toughest game we played since I've been here," Durant said. "We kept playing hard, I tried to inspire my teammates with my play on both ends of the floor, and I'm glad we got this one for Oklahoma City."
Oklahoma City will host either the Boston Celtics or the Miami Heat in Game 1 of the 2012 NBA Finals on Tuesday night. The Celtics lead the Heat 3-2 in the Eastern Conference finals and host Game 6 at TD Garden on Thursday night.