The Thunder started off hot in the first half, but the Spurs would quickly weather the storm, taking the lead by halftime and would never look back. The Spurs finished the night with six players who scored in double figures, while the Thunder only had three players – Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Reggie Jackson — score over six points on the night.
The Thunder’s role players failed to give KD and Westbrook any help on either end of the floor, which is a recipe for disaster.
The way things are going in the series is not a good sign for the Thunder. No team has won on the road, so the Thunder can expect to win Game 6 but that could very much be their last game of the season. The Spurs surely want to win on the Thunder’s home court to end things, but the Thunder have played extremely well in Loud City. If this series gets to Game 7, the Spurs should be relaxed, given the way things have gone. Still, anything is possible.
The deciding factor for the Thunder will be the play of their superstar, Durant. He has yet to make a statement in this series. After scoring 30 points in eight of his first 13 playoff games. The troublesome Spurs defense has obviously attributed to his less-than-great play, but expect Durant to turn it up for the remaining two games.
If he plays anything like he has in the previous five games, then OKC will have a slim-to-none chance of staying alive. Durant has to come into the game knowing he’s going to take 25 or more shots and not settle for what the defense gives him.
Westbrook is doing everything in his power to keep the Thunder alive. He had another strong game, before the Thunder fell behind more than 20 points. He finished the night 6-of-12 shooting with 21 points, seven assists, four rebounds and three steals. Westbrook just needs to continue to apply pressure and help Durant get back into his groove, even if that means taking less shots.
Personally, I’m a firm believer that Westbrook has a much easier time taking over games than Durant does because of his ability to blow by defenders and get open for jump shots. Westbrook is also an important piece to Serge Ibaka‘s input because it’s usually Westbrook who sets him up for open jumpers and easy dunks.
Regardless of what the Thunder’s star players accomplish during the next game and possible Game 7, they need more a more consistent all-around contribution from their role players. Their star players are going to deliver regardless of what the defense tries. The Thunder are in better shape than most people may think now. They should be able to take Game 6 without much trouble, and Game 7 is a toss-up, even though no road team has won a game thus far.
Expect a Game 7, and expect it to be a classic.