Previewing Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals between the Spurs and Thunder in Oklahoma City.
1. Where We're At: The Spurs are on the edge of oblivion after looking unbeatable in Games 1 and 2. Oklahoma City have rattled off three straight and are at home in the Thunderdome looking for their first Finals appearance in franchise history (no, I'm not counting the Sonics, come on, now). The Spurs have lost all control of this series and with the Thunder winning in San Antonio, you have to wonder if they've run out of counterpunches.
2. The Big Number: 96.15 Pace. That's the number of possessions the Thunder and Spurs are playing at in this series. For comparison, the Thunder played at an estimated 90 possessions per game aginst the Lakers and 93 vs. the Mavericks. So the game has sped up, and San Antonio is not dealing with it. That comes down to the difference in the Spurs' title teams and this one. It's about grinding it out instead of trying to get into a horse race. The Thunder have the horses in this one.
3. Key Adjustment: San Antonio is going to have to hit shots. Lots of shots. Mega-shots. All the time. They can't stop the Thunder. Their defense has been exposed as the mediocre group it was before the trade deadline against a good Thunder offense and they can't do anything against it. So the only way that the Spurs win is if they light them up from everywhere on the floor. San Antonio has to try and outscore three of the game's best scorers in Game 6.
4. The Big Story: The Thunder are on the verge of ascending to the Finals as a crucially young team. This is the kind of thing that can shift the NBA's power balance irrevocably over the next five years, regardless of salary cap implications.
5. The Facts: 9 p.m. EST. Gary Neal missed the Spurs' flight due to illness, but isn't expected to miss Game 6. Everyone else is healthy.