Going into Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals, both the Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs are facing a must-win situation. In a series tied 2-2, the Thunder could be going into Oklahoma with two chances to earn a trip to the NBA Finals or the Spurs could be doing the same thing. Both teams want to the same thing, but both teams are aware of the tough task before them. By no means do I believe this will be a blowout for any team, especially with so much riding on one game. This is Game 7 material even though the series could be over in six games for either team.
With the first four games all being blowouts, we’ve yet to see an evenly-played matchup between these two teams. In all four games, both teams found themselves with big leads and closed the games out turbulence-free. Thursday night’s game should be much different for everyone. With Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant scoring 71 combined points in Tuesday night’s game, the Spurs will be looking to do everything in their power to slow both — or at least one — of these players down. The Thunder have to find a way to slow the Spurs’ highly effective, well-balanced attack with their mixture of savvy veterans and hungry young talent.
Gregg Popovich was displeased with his team’s effort in most aspects of the game on Tuesday night. When you put a detour in front of a great coach, he’s going to do everything to find his way around it and stay the course. Most coaches would go astray and lose sight of the game-plan that got them to where they are. Scott Brooks knows what his team has to do — attack and attack some more. The Thunder have a physical advantage over the Spurs and may even have the mental edge after falling behind 0-2 and then coming back to tie to series up at two games apiece.
No matter who wins, I expect this to be the best game of the series thus far. And either way both teams will live to fight another day, but that doesn’t change the fact that these teams know that tonight’s win will propel either franchise a big step forward on their journey towards an NBA Championship.