OAKLAND -- The Warriors staved off elimination Thursday night, taking down the Thunder by a final of 120-111 to force a Game 6 set for Saturday evening.
When you play the Thunder, it’s usually all about stopping, or at least slowing, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. When they are on, they are one of the toughest outs in the league. When they aren’t, Oklahoma City becomes decidedly easier to beat.
It’s the most dangerous duo in the league. Durant has unlimited range and Westbrook can break anyone down off the dribble. They come at you with reckless abandon at times, as they aggressively attack from all angles. But there are also times when it appears that they are playing two on five on the offensive end.
Thursday night the pair shot 59 of the Thunder’s 91 shots. They also took 22 of the team’s 24 free throw attempts, combining to score 71 of the OKC’s 111 points.
“No,” Durant said emphatically when asked if he and Westbrook sometimes forget about the players around them. “That’s who we are, we’ve got to be aggressive. When they’re going in, you won’t say anything.”
“But we happened to miss some tonight,” Durant continued. “But we were aggressive. We were right there. We had an opportunity to win the basketball game. That’s what we we do. That’s how we play, like it or not.”
These stats aren’t out of the norm for OKC. Speaking with Durant after the press conference, he clarified that this is how this Thunder team is constructed and it’s been that way for five or six seasons. They are on the brink of the NBA Finals and it’s in large part due to the play of their two superstars.
Durant dropped in a game-high 40 points on 12-for-31 shooting, keeping the Thunder within striking distance for much of the night. He added seven rebounds and four assists in the loss.
Westbrook found a little traction late, posting 11 points on 4-for-8 shooting in the fourth, but the rest of the game he struggled to find the bottom of the net.
The All-NBA first teamer finished the night with 31 points on 11-for-28 shooting. He added eight assists, seven rebounds and five steals, but he also managed to turned the ball over a game-high seven times.
“We missed a lot of easy shots,” Westbrook said. “Definitely some passes we could have made. Turnovers on my behalf. But we’ll go back and look at the film and see if we can get some more open shots and hopefully finish some easy baskets.”
Durant leads the league in scoring during the playoffs, averaging 28.4 points on 43.4 percent shooting. He’s slightly above his season average of 28.2 points per game, which was good enough for third best in the league.
Westbrook is fifth in the league in scoring during the playoffs, posting 26.3 points and he leads in assists at 10.9 per game. He was the league’s eighth leading scorer during the regular season at 23.5 points per game and he finished second in assists at 10.4 a night.
“They have a great will to win,” Andre Roberson said. “They’re two great players in this league -- first, second team All-NBA. They can get it done. I think they did a great job of trusting us tonight. It could be better at times, but we all can be better.”
After posting 17 points and 12 rebounds in Game 4, and 13 points, six boards in Game 3, Roberson was held to just six points on 2-of-5 shooting in Game 5.
Outside of Durant and Westbrook, only Serge Ibaka (13) and Anthony Morrow (10) scored in double-digits. Ibaka took 10 shots, but no other Thunder player managed to hoist more than six attempts.
Despite the loss in Game 5, the Thunder continue to hold a 3-2 advantage in the series. They travel back to Oklahoma City on Saturday where they have a chance to close out the reigning champs at Chesapeake Energy Arena.