That's a cause for concern for the Spurs, considering the fact that they just went over 50 days without losing a single game during their 20-game winning streak.
Game 5 wasn't pretty, but it was a huge win on the road for the Thunder. Despite a late charge by the Spurs, James Harden put that fire out with as clutch of a late-game three-pointer as you will see in the NBA playoffs.
Gregg Popovich inserted Manu Ginobili into the starting lineup, but even his 34 points weren't enough to stop the Thunder from inching just a win away from a trip to the NBA Finals.
Can the Spurs get things straightened out and come away with a win on the road to send the series back to San Antonio for a seventh and deciding game?
Or are Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Harden on a roll that even a great Spurs team can't stop?
Here's a look at everything you need to know about this pivotal Western Conference Finals matchup.
When: Wednesday, June 6 at 9:00 p.m.
Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Okla.
Live Stream: TNT.com
Betting Line: Oklahoma City (-5) via LinesMaker.com
Spurs Key Injuries (via CBS Sports)
No key injuries reported.
Thunder Key Injuries (via CBS Sports)
No key injuries reported.
What They're Saying
If the San Antonio Spurs don't look like the same powerhouse that won 20 consecutive games it's because they don't have the same Tony Parker who drove the streak. It's dangerous to reduce a group -- especially one as team-oriented a squad as the Spurs -- to an individual, but a successful team is a group of individuals playing well. And the Spurs' most important individual, their MVP of the regular season, isn't getting it done.
Parker is letting his teammates down, putting his coach in a bind and backing the Spurs up to the brink of elimination after the Oklahoma City Thunder won Game 5, 108-103.
As far as the Thunder go, ESPN's Marc Stein takes a look at a team that has learned to overcome adversity.
After losing to the Dallas Mavericks in five games a year ago in the same spot and blowing a Game 1 lead this season to the Spurs and ultimately falling behind 2-0 in the series, Durant and company could have folded, but we've seen this team grow up before our eyes the last three years.
Stein wrote that the maturation process continues for the Thunder:
Yet there were so many chances to splinter along the way. So many disappointments after OKC blew all of a 14-point lead, built it all the way back up to 13 in the fourth with the wheezing hosts spent by their comeback and then watched Westbrook (who still happened to muster 23 points and 12 assists) commit dreadful turnovers on three straight possessions late, indefensibly forgetting the over-and-back rules on the third of those TOs. The Thunder also gave Ginobili the gift of a potential game-tying 3 in the game's final seconds when Durant, with a timeout available, allowed himself to get trapped in the corner on the sort of inbounds play on which that should never happen, leading to another potentially crushing turnover.
Amazingly they survived it all. Fortune obviously plays a part after that many gaffes, but it's also clear that the Thunder have learned how to rebound and cope and grow on the fly -- after coming home with a 2-0 deficit -- as well as any on-the-rise crew has ever done it. Adversity, to use Collison's word, no longer leads to automatic panic like it once did. So hungry and emboldened by all they've achieved in this playoff run, having lost only one game in eliminating the Mavericks and Lakers, Durant's Thunder hang in now when things go wrong. Even against the very best.
Most Important Player to Watch: Serge Ibaka
The Thunder's Big Three are going to score and impact the game, but if Ibaka is putting up big numbers as well, then Oklahoma City will close this series out in Game 6,
After scoring a combined 13 points in the first two games, Ibaka exploded to score 49 points during the next three games, on 20-of-26 shooting.
In addition, Ibaka is averaging 6.0 rebounds and blocking 2.8 shots per game in the series.
I always say that getting stops in the playoffs is more important than making shots, and the Spurs aren't getting consistent stops right now. They can start by trying to take Ibaka out of the game.
Key Matchup: Tony Parker vs. Russell Westbrook
Whichever point guard plays better could determine whether or not we see a Game 7.
Since Scott Brooks started using Thabo Sefolosha on Parker, it has been a struggle for the Spurs' point guard.
He's turned the ball over 11 times during the past three games (five in Game 5) and has shot the ball poorly, making only 10-of-29 shot attempts over the past two games. Parker has been unable to adjust to the length of Sefolosha or the attention the Thunder's frontline has paid him when he comes off screens.
Speaking of adjusting, Westbrook has done exactly that.
Westbrook wasn't having success getting to the hoop against the Spurs, so he started looking for his teammates instead, recording 12 assists in Game 5.
Sure, he was only 9-of-24 shooting and committed six turnovers, but when he has 12 assists, the Thunder win.
On the other hand, Parker has had only four assists in each of the past three games.
It could come down to the ability of Parker to step up his game and whether or not Westbrook can avoid the boneheaded play that can cripple the Thunder.
I like the roll Westbrook and the Thunder are on, especially at home.
Thunder 108, Spurs 104
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