The Norman Transcript

Sports

May 31, 2014

Home-court has been huge in crazy series

NORMAN — In April, the Thunder suffered losses to the likes of New Orleans and Phoenix. In March, they had a four-point defeat to the Lakers and a six -point loss to the Suns.

Throw in bad beats by Orlando and Cleveland in February and that’s six games Oklahoma City threw away to teams that’s didn’t make the playoffs in the final two and a half months of the regular season.

The only reason that is relevant now is that the Thunder missed out on first place in the Western Conference by three games to the San Antonio Spurs. Because of that, the Spurs earned home court advantage throughout the postseason.

At the time, when the season ended, it looked like a minute problem. With the Thunder sweeping San Antonio, there was no need to think they couldn’t handle them at home or on the road if they met in the postseason.

But now, five games into the Western Conference Finals, that train of thought has been debunked. The home team has won easily in each of the contests. That includes the Spurs manhandling Oklahoma City Thursday in Game 5 117-89.

“It’s been a strange series, been an interesting series,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “There’s five games, and there really hasn’t been a fourth quarter game yet. I’m sure they feel the same way, they would like to play better on the road, just like we would like to play better on the road. But we have to come back and dictate the game defensively.”

The vast swings the series has taken has caught players and coaches from both teams off-guard.

“It’s the craziest series I’ve ever been involved in,” Spurs forward Tim Duncan said. “The back and forth, the changes, the leads and the wins. I don’t know how to explain it. They always talk about in a series about adjustments and both coaches have made some great adjustments and continued to respond and the results are what they are. We got to hopefully go into OKC and try to get this thing done.”

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