The playoffs near the second round and whilst some teams have cemented their spot, other matchups are coming down to the wire. Two pivotal matchups on Saturday see the Cavaliers look to get past the plucky Pacers and the series of the playoffs thus far, the Jazz hosting the Thunder. The King and the reigning MVP have had to battle back from series deficit’s to put their team’s in positions to keep their playoff hopes alive.
The King has wrestled control of this tie back from Indiana as he led his men to a three-point victory at home in Game 5. The game ebbed and flowed much like the rest of the series, but down the stretch is was the Cavaliers who stepped up and staved off the fast finishing Pacers.
Looking ahead to Game 6, the teams go back to Indiana where Cleveland will be willing themselves to a victory in order to close out the series. Cleveland’s success in this series is when they were able to minimise the impact had by Oladipo. Their last two series victories involved heavy man marking on Oladipo limiting his points putting the pressure on the supporting cast to seal the deal.
This is a game where Indiana will put in a good shift. The Cavaliers as we’ve mentioned before are not built to blow teams out but they also have the playoff pedigree to not wilt when the lights shine brightest.
Utah was up 15 at halftime. They were up 25 points at one stage with 8 minutes to go in the third quarter. From there onwards it was utter relentlessness from Russell Westbrook notching 45 points on his way to leading the Thunder towards overcoming the deficit facing his team.
However, lets look a little closer into the numbers. The Thunder hadn’t changed their style of play in this game. Their play ran almost solely through George and Westbrook with the pair accounting for 79 of the Thunder’s 107 points. Anything short of a stellar performance by both those men would have handed the series to the Jazz.
As the Thunder breathe in a big sigh of relief they have to travel to Utah, where their last two games played there saw them lose by 13 and 17 points.
Are Billy Donovan and Russell Westbrook going to change their strategy? I wouldn’t bet on it, so what I will be betting on is the Jazz to come up trumps at home. They’re too unselfish, with much better coaching and have the pieces to disrupt the Thunder all while using their home court to their advantage.