Western Conference Finals: Game 6 Preview and Prediction

(Kelly L. Cox-USA TODAY Sports)

 Game Information

  • Thunder lead series 3-2
  • Game 1: Thunder 108, Warriors 102
  • Game 2: Warriors 118, Thunder 91
  • Game 3: Thunder 133, Warriors 105
  • Game 4: Thunder 118, Warriors 94
  • Game 5: Warriors 120, Thunder 111
  • Location: Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK
  • Time: Saturday, May 28, at 9:00 PM ET
  • Betting Odds: OKC -2

Key Information

After a series saving Game 5 win, the Warriors look to force Game 7 in Oklahoma City, where they have lost their previous two games by an average of 27 points. This is practically a Game 7 for the Thunder since the chances of beating a hot Golden State team on the road are very unlikely.

The nine point final difference in Game 5 is misleading. It was a very close game in the last few minutes. With about 35 seconds left, Kevin Durant missed a three-pointer that would have cut the deficit to 3. Had this shot gone in, the game would have completely changed, and Game 6 could have not been needed. The Warriors did pull away after this miss, and there will be a Game 6.

This now is, so far, the biggest game of the season for both teams. Obviously for the Warriors they are going home if they don’t win, and the Thunder have to go back to Oakland for a Game 7 with a loss.

As I tweeted before the series, the star power in this series is insane.

Here is a look at the stats of Oklahoma City’s stars so far in this series:

  • Durant: 30.8 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.8 steals, 1.6 blocks
  • Westbrook: 28.0 points, 6.6 rebounds, 11.0 assists, 1.0 steals

Seeing these stats, most people would think the Thunder are winning this series handily. But let me show you their slash lines along with some other statistics:

  • Durant: 43.2 FG% / 29.6 3P% / 93.6 FT%
    • 4 turnovers per game
  • Westbrook: 41.3 FG% / 36.7 3P% / 83 FT%
    • 4.6 turnovers per game

Now you might see the problem with OKC’s stars. Low efficiency and turnovers are a huge problem for the Thunder right now. If these two were closer to their regular season averages, the Thunder would have won this series already. I am not discrediting these two, as they are also the only reason the Thunder are even in the series, but Russ and KD need to take control in Game 6 if the Thunder want to win.

In the Game 5 post-game interview, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook were asked about Stephen Curry’s defense possibly being underrated. Westbrook laughed off the question and Durant commented that he, “Doesn’t guard the best Point Guards.” We’ll see if this motivates Stephen Curry to shut down Westbrook in Game 6.

I believe that the Thunder will come out ready, and jump out to an early lead. The Thunder have to prevent Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry from having one of those short takeovers that completely change the momentum of the game. If one of these takeovers does not take place, I see the Thunder running away with this game, though I would not bet against one of the Splash Brothers hitting multiple threes in a row.

I’m taking the Thunder to advance to the NBA Finals tonight in Game 6.

Prediction

Thunder 116, Warriors 109

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