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Game 5 Review
The Oklahoma City (OKC) Thunder had a golden opportunity to put the Golden State Warriors down for good but the Warriors had other plans. Stephen Curry was able to turn it around by scoring 31 points. The key to the game was Steve Kerr deciding to switch it up by not going small as much and countering OKC’s bigs with Andrew Bogut (15 points and 14 rebounds) playing extended minutes during Game 5. Kerr also went deep into the bench and trusting his second unit with more time on the floor which sparked the Warriors for a must win. The Thunder on the other hand didn’t get any help from their bench except for a stint from Anthony Morrow where he scored seven straight points in the second quarter. Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant combined to score 71 points but it still wasn’t enough without any help from the bench. What stood out is the reaction from OKC after losing. They seemed to be confident realizing they let one slip away by not showing any emotion but more of “we know what we have to do”.
Keys To The Game
Golden State must keep the ball moving on the offensive side. They seemed to get in trouble when their offense gets stagnant. They need Draymond Green to have a monstrous game by having his imprint on the entire game while on the defensive and offensive side of the ball. It’s no secret, the superstars must shine throughout the game and keep the pressure on OKC’s stars to match them. OKC has to do the opposite by having most of their role players come through and play like it’s a game seven at home. It’s pretty obvious that Durant and Westbrook are going to uphold their stellar play in Game six but the “others” can’t get too relaxed and approach this as if it’s their game seven.
The X-Factor for the Warriors is Shaun Livingston. Livingston is the only player that really has a natural advantage on the offensive side with his height. He can get his shot off at anytime he needs and want to. So that Curry can catch his breath and get the proper rest, he needs to score and lead the second unit.
The X-Factor for the Thunder is Dion Waiters. Waiters, who has been solid for the Thunder during this Western Conference, didn’t score a single point in Game 5. Waiters has to score at least 10 points to give OKC a chance to win tonight. He, like Livingston, needs to play well so that Westbrook can get his proper rest and not be rushed off the bench. What is most important about Waiters scoring is it usually comes in at the time they need it most, whether a basket to maintain the lead, a basket to take the lead or that bucket to kick start a major run.
Prediction: The Warriors are used to winning streaks as they displayed this season. They need to hold nothing back and play with desperation. The Thunder’s confidence is key, they can’t let any doubt kick in. OKC blows out Golden State 113-94