Thunder players have been bombarded with a reminder that no team in the NBA Finals has ever overcome a 3-1 deficit, that teams are 30-0 all-time when leading 3-1 in the Finals and 13-0 since the NBA started using the 2-3-2 format in the 1985 Finals.
With all that history going against it, what is OKC possibly thinking about?
“To make history,” Thunder guard James Harden said. “As simple as that.”
What's it going to take for the Thunder to get back to OKC for Game 6 on Sunday?
“Toughness, man,” said point guard Russell Westbrook, who exploded for a career playoff high of 43 points in Game 4. “Just got to come out and play with toughness. Any way we do it, we've got to find a way to get a win. That's all it is.”
The Thunder rediscovered its free-throw shooting, converting 15 of 16 (.938) in Game 4 after shooting 70.1 in the first three games of the series.
OKC's 3-point shooting continues to plummet, however.
The Thunder is now shooting .273 (21 for 77) in the Finals.
“Well, I look back at some of our 3s or all of our 3s, and we got some good looks, and that's all you can ask for,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “There's some of them that were contested, there's no question. They're a great defensive team, and they make you take some tough shots, but you have to be able to keep moving the basketball and find those good shots.
“We are a good 3-point shooting team (35.8 percent in the regular season), and we've improved on that the last three or four years, but you have to step up and make them. That's the bottom line. When you're open, you have to take them and you've got to shoot them with confidence. And our guys, hopefully (Thursday) night, we step up and get those shots, and hopefully they fall in.”
Harden on the most difficult time to maintain his confidence: “It's definitely when those shots that you get open don't go in, but you've got to continue to play, especially for a player like me. I rely more on than just shooting or just scoring the basketball. Every aspect of my game has to be picked up in order for us to win games.”