More than 24 hours have passed, and I am honestly still speechless from Game 5.
How it happened is still a major question in my head. Either way, the Thunder won and are now a game away from heading to the Western Conference Finals for the third time in four years.
In order for Oklahoma City to close out the series, a few things would have to go well. For one, Kevin Durant has to play better. Durant finished 6-22 from the field in Game 5, and was just not himself. Luckily, his partner-in-crime saved the Thunder and took on the scoring load, with 38 points. Yes, the Thunder won when Durant scored just 17 points. But no, Oklahoma City won’t make any type of finals run with Durant playing like that. In the fourth quarter lately, the Thunder have been struggling to score. It blows my mind because Scott Brooks has two of the top 10 scorers in the league to work with. KD will need to play and shoot the ball better in Game 6, if the Thunder not only want to close out the series, but also make a title run.
Another key is Oklahoma City doing a better job defensively. Allowing 34 points in the first quarter was pretty bad, considering J.J. Redick finished the first quarter with 11 points. Although, the Thunder locked in late, holding Los Angeles to just 18 fourth quarter points, which was key to stealing Game 5. The Thunder need to do a way better job closing out on shooters—Matt Barnes, J.J. Redick, and Jamal Crawford—and an even better job containing Chris Paul.
Lastly, the turnovers a still a major concern for this Thunder team. OKC turned it over in total 13 times yesterday, but had five turnovers after the first quarter, which is a main reason why the Clippers were up by as much as 10 in the first. If Oklahoma City can limit their turnovers, this team could be nearly unstoppable on the offensive end.
Someway, somehow, the Thunder won Game 5. As badly as they played, OKC now has a chance to close it out in Los Angeles–a place where they have no problem winning in. With a good performance from the MVP, a limitation of turnovers, and solid defense, the Thunder will head back to the Western Conference Finals.