It’s pretty crazy to think that the Thunder are a game away from being eliminated.
With all the hype of Westbrook returning, the ridiculousness of Kevin Durant, and the Finals expectations, the Thunder are just a game away from losing in the first round.
Although, as negative and pessimistic as things are surrounding Oklahoma City at the moment, the Thunder still have an opportunity to make a run. Going into Memphis and playing in a hostile environment, playing the way Oklahoma City is and winning won’t be easy. However, if the Thunder can accomplish these three keys, they have a shot:
You can talk about the struggles on offense all you’d like, but the main reason of the Thunder failures as of late is their defensive. In the three loses to the Grizzlies, Oklahoma City gave up 111(Game 2), 98(Game 3), and 100(Game 5) points. It seems like every time the Thunder get a nice bucket, Memphis comes down nonchalantly and scores with ease. The opening quarters defensively have been unacceptable. Last night, the Thunder gave up 30 first quarter points, and 25 second quarter points. The only reason why the Thunder kept the game close was because they held Memphis to just 35 second half points. All season long, OKC struggled with rotating to shooters, and this series is no different as Mike Miller exploded for 21 points last night (5-8 from deep). Unless I’m missing something, this Memphis offense isn’t that dynamic and unstoppable. Something has got to change with this Thunder defense in order for them to win Game 6
2. Kevin Durant waking up:
The league’s likely MVP went on a tear this regular season. So far in the playoffs, he just doesn’t look like himself. Sometimes I even forget he is on the floor, because he is playing the “decoy” role and being passive. After the game, Durant said,” Sometimes you’ve got to be a decoy out there and I’m fine with that.” However, he can’t be ‘decoy’ when OKC is down and in need of instant offense. The best scorer in the world should be touching the ball on every possession, and should be taking more than 30 shots a game.
3. Some sense of urgency:
This is the best way to put it: The Thunder are a game away from being eliminated. A GAME AWAY!!! If the Thunder lose, this organization is in deep trouble with a lot of questions to be answered. Can the Thunder please just wake up and play with a sense of urgency for once this series?
Game 6 in tomorrow night in Memphis. Oh boy.