OAKLAND, Calif., Sporting Alert – The Oklahoma City Thunder will try to put the final dagger into the heart of the Golden State Warriors when the two teams meet in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals on Thursday night.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs.
Golden State Warriors
Thurs, May 26 – 9:00 PM ET
Live Streaming: TNT Overtime
— ESPN Insider (@ESPNInsider) May 26, 2016
Oklahoma City head into the Oracle Arena in Oakland, with a 3-1 lead in the series after winning both games at home and stealing one on the road in Game 1 of the match-up.
A win for the Warriors on Thursday will at least extend the series to a Game 6, but the defending champions must win all three of the remaining fixtures if they are to secure a place in the final.
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook have been outstanding in the series so far for Oklahoma City, and many are backing the All-Stars to deliver another strong performance and knock the title holders out of the championship race.
Despite looking silly in their predictions in the last two games, oddsmakers are again sticking with the Warriors to win Game 5 – listing Steve Kerr’s side as a 7½-point favourite against the Thunder, while the game’s total is expected to go way over the 200 points tally again.
Meanwhile, Kerr has dismissed suggestions that reigning two-time regular season MVP Stephen Curry is playing injured.
Curry has been struggling with his form in this series thus far, especially in the last two games – after going 7 for 17 on shooting from the floor in Game 3 and 6 for 20 in Game 4- and this led to several reports claiming the star point guard is still dealing with a right knee problem.
However, Kerr declined the stories.
“Is that ‘sources with knowledge of the team’s thinking?’ ” Kerr asked Wednesday afternoon about a report published by Yahoo! Sports.
“Nobody has said anything about Steph being 70 percent to me.
“Training staff, relatives, friends, sources with knowledge of the team’s thinking — nobody has told me he’s 70 percent. Evidently they told the media but not me.”
But despite Kerr’s comment, anyone watching Curry now can tell that he has not been the same player since coming back from the ankle and knee injuries and the Thunder are taking full advantage by playing attacking ball against him.
The likes of Harrison Barnes, Andrew Bogut, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston have all gone missing in the series up to this point and need to step and share the load.
Golden State won an NBA record 73 games during the regular season, including going 3-0 against the Thunder.
The defending champions need to find back that form to save their season.