The general consensus coming into Thursday's Game 5 was that the Spurs don't have what it takes to win a game in Oklahoma City. Therefore, San Antonio would have to take both Game 5 and Game 7 in their own gym to advance to the NBA Finals.
They're halfway there.
San Antonio put on an offensive clinic, blowing out the Thunder 117-89 in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals to take a 3-2 lead in the series.
Home-court advantage has meant everything for these teams. The Spurs have won all three of their home games by a total of 80 points, blowing out OKC by 28, 35, and 17 points. Of course, the Thunder also dominated their two home games by an average of 11 points.
"You really can't explain it," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "Because both teams are really good and both teams compete, it's the way it is. We have to regroup and come back better in a few days."
Tim Duncan couldn't figure it out either, claiming this as "the craziest series I've ever been involved in."
Thursday's contest was tied 32-32 after the first quarter, but it was all downhill from there. OKC's offense fell flat on its face. The Thunder scored just 23 points in the second, 19 points in the third and 15 points in the fourth.
Meanwhile, San Antonio rediscovered the 3-ball that makes them so deadly. The Spurs drained 13-26 3s. Danny Green nailed four, while Patty Mills and Manu Ginobili each drained three. Ginobili finished with 19 points on 7-9 shooting.
Brooks was highly displeased with his team's defensive performance.
"We gave ‘em everything they wanted," Brooks said. "They got the dribble drive, they got the 3-point line and they got to the free throw line; they shot 30 free throws. They're not a team that shoots a lot of free throws, but we fouled ‘em enough to put ‘em on the line for 30 free throws."
Kevin Durant's 25 points led Oklahoma City, while Russell Westbrook chipped in 21 points and seven assists. Other than that, though, the Thunder's offense ran dry.
Reggie Jackson scored 11 points in the first quarter, but failed to score in the final three. Serge Ibaka managed only six points on 3-10 shooting, while only grabbing two rebounds.
No member of the Thunder bench reached double figures.
After being terrorized by Ibaka's defensive performance in Games 3 and 4, the Spurs switched up their lineup for Game 5. Coach Gregg Popovich inserted rarely-used Matt Bonner into the starting lineup in an attempt to draw Ibaka away from the rim. Bonner's stat line was essentially nonexistent, scoring no points, grabbing no rebounds, dishing out no assists, blocking no shots and collecting no steals.
Nevertheless, Bonner and Boris Diaw used their versatility to give the Spurs a different look. Bonner played 17 minutes, while Diaw scored 13 points and grabbed six boards in 28 minutes.
Duncan finished with 22 points and 12 rebounds and credited his coach for making the lineup adjustments.
"Definitely helped," Duncan said. "Boris shot the ball really well and the threat of Matt being out there I think helped us to keep them out of the lane a little bit and spread 'em out a little bit. It was a great move by Pop."
Game 6 is Saturday night at Chesapeake Arena where the Thunder will look to keep their season alive.
"We are guaranteed 48 more minutes," Durant said. "We gotta figure out a way to come with it in Game 6."