It is in the past – albeit it rather recently, but the Oklahoma City Thunder are going to have to put the Game 5 loss behind them and focus on the next game – an elimination game – if they want to extend their season by a couple of days.
While the Thunder will be breaking down the game footage and practicing, the fans don’t have the same distraction. We have to sit here an relive what went on in Game Five, over and over again. So let’s have a look at the fall out from Game 5.
Lack of Energy
The Thunder got down early and struggled with the intensity produced by the Memphis Grizzlies. This has unfortunately been a hallmark of the Thunder this season and playoffs in particular. Although they were able to spark a run in the second half and force the game into overtime, it is not the best way to play basketball if you want to win a playoff series. In front of a home crowd, the slow start killed the crowd mood and took them right out of the game which played right into the Grizzlies hands.
We have to give credit to the Memphis Grizzlies for their defensive focus and pressure and in particular to Tony Allen for being able to force the best scorer in the game to struggle mightily in the most important moments of games. However, Thunder fans must still be a little disappointed in the way Durant is playing right now. He seems to be a little intimidated by Allen and has been settling for average shots at best. While he can hit these normally, when not in rhythm he is not as effective. Russell Westbrook has also had his fair share of ill advised shots, but he has also been attacking the rim to limit the effect of the poor shooting. The rest of the team just can’t make baskets outside of Ibaka.
Seventeen of them. Far too many for a team that want’s to win basketball games. A number of them came from poor decisions, sloppy and lazy basketball and momentary lapses in concentration rather than just good defense from the Grizzlies. It allowed Memphis additional possessions and stopped the Thunder from having a chance to score more than a dozen times and that is far from ideal
Missed Free Throw
Kevin Durant missed a critical free throw that woulds have tied the game after Joey Crawford stole the ball from him on the shot attempt. While it was not an ideal situation and Thunder fans will no doubt be upset – the interference didn’t cost OKC the bucket – the missed shot itself did.
Final Play in overtime
A long fade away 3 pointer from superstar Kevin Durant. While Durant has been known to make some incredible shots and never shies away from the big moments – this didn’t look like the best play option. Down just 1 point with 3 seconds to go, there must have been another avenue to get the basket required to win. Something going towards the hoop would have surely been better than a long range bomb that hadn’t been made with any frequency during the game.
The Thunder now have their backs firmly against the wall. Trying to beat Memphis at the Grindhouse while forgetting this loss at home.
Let us know your thoughts from Game 5 and what the Thunder have to get right in Game 6 to force a decider at home.