OKLAHOMA CITY -- Kevin Durant took a key step toward becoming an all-time great by winning the MVP award.
He will have to wait at least another year for the crown jewel.
Durant went down fighting. He had 31 points and 14 rebounds. But he'll have to watch again as the player he's most often compared to, LeBron James, seeks his third consecutive championship.
"It's just tough losing like this, man," Durant said. "There's not much more I can say."
Tim Duncan had 19 points and 15 rebounds for the Spurs, who will host Game 1 on Thursday night as they try to avenge last year's heartbreaking, seven-game loss.
"They have a good team," Durant said. "Tony Parker is not their whole team. You've seen games where he wasn't playing and they still won. They've got a good system. They've got guys they can plug in, and they came in and made plays."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.