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Oklahoma City is One Win From the NBA Finals. Now if LeBron Could Only Get the Job Done ...

Some facts and musings from Thunder 108, Spurs 103:

* Russell Westbrook (23 points, 12 assists) had six turnovers in game five. He had a total of four turnovers in five games against the Lakers. Westbrook elicits three reactions: 1) Wow, what a sick athlete playing point guard! 2) Wow, what a error-prone, boneheaded point guard. 3) Wow, where does he think he’s going in that shirt?

* James Harden’s classic NOOOOOYESSSSSSSSS 3-pointer in the final minute was your dagger. Harden scored 20 points. The Spurs still had a chance to tie the game with a three-pointer, but Manu missed from deep.

* Manu Ginobili, starting for just the 7th time this season, was unstoppable, scoring 34 points. The problem? San Antonio’s playing rotation was out of whack, and two early fouls on Diaw and Duncan further muddied things. The rotation was so bizarre that in the third quarter, when Manu went bananas (video below) and the Spurs took a 6-point lead, Popovich yanked Tony Parker for Gary Neal. Oklahoma City subsequently grabbed the lead and owned the rest of the quarter, taking a 9-point lead in the 4th. Nobody likes to challenge a Hall of Fame coach with four rings, but it wasn’t his finest performance. (Columnist Buck Harvey seems to agree.) The Spurs had a series-high 21 turnovers. Tony Parker never seemed in rhythm. Obviously the Thunder’s athletic defense was a huge reason, but I didn’t like those two moves by Pop.

* My three keys to the game were Ibaka, Collison and Perkins. They had shot 8-of-28 in the first two games in San Antonio. In game 5, the trio played as if they were at home, shooting a combined 8-for-13.

* It’s still a massive shocker to me that the Thunder can go 3-4 possessions without involving Durant (27 points on 19 shots) in the offense. Especially with a lead crumbling. Especially after mind-numbing turnovers by Westbrook and Harden. I can’t imagine OKC losing game six at home, but I’m not yet ready to get totally giddy about Durant vs. LeBron in the Finals.

 

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