OKLAHOMA CITY — San Antonio fought off Father Time, the league MVP, and an injury to its best player to return to the NBA Finals.
The Spurs beat the Oklahoma City Thunder, 112-107, in overtime Saturday night in Game 6 of the Western Conference finals to set up a rematch with the Miami Heat.
San Antonio will host Game 1 on Thursday night and will try to avenge last year’s heartbreaking loss. San Antonio led Miami, 3-2, before losing Game 6 in overtime, then dropping Game 7.
‘‘People keep talking like we weren’t close to winning, but we were ready to win last year,’’ Spurs center Tim Duncan said. ‘‘We’re happy it’s the Heat again. We've got that bad taste in our mouths still.’’
A trio of 30-somethings led the way for the Spurs. Duncan had 19 points and 15 rebounds, Boris Diaw scored 26 points, and Manu Ginobili chipped in 15 points and six rebounds.
San Antonio pulled this one out despite All-Star point guard Tony Parker missing the entire second half and overtime with left ankle soreness.
Coach Gregg Popovich said Parker had been struggling with the ankle since Game 4 of the series. The Spurs overcame it the way they have for more than a decade — with teamwork, passing, and great performances by role players.
‘‘We didn’t want to go to Game 7,’’ Diaw said, “and we didn’t know if [Parker] would be ready to play if we did or if he would be 100 percent, so we tried to get it over with tonight.’’
It was the third-best playoff scoring effort of Diaw’s 11-year career and his best since 2006.
The Thunder, who overcame a 12-point deficit in the fourth quarter to force overtime, were carried by Russell Westbrook (34 points, 8 assists, 7 rebounds, 6 steals) and MVP Kevin Durant (31 points, 14 rebounds). But Oklahoma City committed 20 turnovers that led to 33 points for the Spurs. Westbrook and Durant each had seven turnovers.
‘‘We started settling for too many jump shots,’’ Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. ‘‘It just seemed like we couldn’t get enough good looks at the basket. Defensively, they just had us scrambling around.’’
In overtime, Duncan’s shot from the baseline rattled in to give the Spurs a 110-107 lead with 19 seconds to go.
Durant missed a good look at a 3-pointer, and the Spurs rebounded and went to the line. Diaw missed the first and made the second free throw to make it a 4-point lead for the Spurs.
Westbrook missed a wild 3-pointer, and Spurs wrapped it up.
‘‘I have to be honest, this victory is really sweet because we know we played one hell of a team, and we take great satisfaction in that since they’re so special,’’ Popovich said.
San Antonio led by 12 early in the fourth quarter, but the Thunder chipped away at the free throw line after getting the Spurs into foul trouble.
Back-to-back baskets by Westbrook and Durant cut San Antonio’s lead to 93-91 with 4:01 to play, leading to the frantic final minutes.
Westbrook was fouled on a drive with 9.3 seconds to play. He made both free throws to tie the score at 101.
Ginobili’s fadeaway at the free throw line against Westbrook missed, and the game went to overtime.
The Finals rematch will be the first for the NBA since the Bulls-Jazz II in 1998 — Duncan’s rookie season.
It’s the sixth trip to the Finals for San Antonio. The Heat are heading to the Finals for the fourth straight season and fifth time overall.