The Oklahoma City Thunder will play the biggest game in franchise history Wednesday night. This has been the case for the last three games too though.
The Thunder are one win away from a trip to the NBA Finals and get a chance to win that game at home for Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals against the San Antonio Spurs.
This series has completely changed from the way it started.
The Spurs won the first two games at home and looked magnificent in doing so. They reached a 20-game winning streak after Game 2, the third longest in NBA history.
The Thunder were down 0-2. A spot where only 14 teams have come back to win a series from in this league. They looked like the old Thunder. The team too young to overcome a bunch of crafty veterans who “have been there before.”
The Thunder hadn’t been there before but everyone has to get there somehow.
The Thunder made adjustments for Game 3. Thabo Sefolosha started guarding Tony Parker, they went small more with Serge Ibaka and Russell Westbrook started distributing. It worked and the Spurs had no answer.
The fact of the matter is that the Thunder are the more talented team. They have more talent than any team in the NBA for that matter. They appeared that way in the first two rounds but not at the start of this series.
Talent always wins out in the NBA. This once again feels like the passing of the guard in the Western Conference. Except the Thunder grow up faster than anyone could have imagined and do so without allowing us to blink.
Kevin Durant parallels the team maturation. He has taken his game to new, well-rounded levels becoming a distributor for the first three quarters of Game 4 before scoring 18 points to close out the Spurs in the fourth.
Durant made just one field goal in the first half of Game 5 on the road then couldn’t miss in the second half.
There was supposed to be another team that “has been there before” who would slow this Thunder team down this year. The Spurs looked like they may have been just that but who pictures them winning in Oklahoma City tonight?
The Thunder have simply become too good. But their greatest test is still ahead.
The Spurs will not roll over and die. They have something to fight for too. They’re playing for one last shot at a title. This Thunder team just doesn’t care though.
The best part about this Thunder team is that they come to play every night. If you expect them to lighten up in Game 6 now that they are up in the series, you simply haven’t seen them play much this year.
They don’t know how to do that.
We keep looking for signature moments of when the Thunder finally turned into a championship team. We have seen some and we will see some more in Game 6.
They don’t care about that either though. The only moment that will matter for them will be when they beat a team for the fourth time in the NBA Finals.
That’s why they won’t lose Wednesday night.