Same starting lineupThunder coach Scott Brooks hasn’t changed the starting lineup all season and will not make any changes for Game 6 tonight at the Ford Center. "Changing the lineup, that person would have to make shots, too,” Brooks said. "We haven’t made a lot of shots in this series. The bottom line is we have to go out there and do what we’ve done well all year long, that’s defend with a lot of energy, challenge ourselves to stop the ball. We didn’t do that (in Game 5).” Center Nenad Krstic will remain in the starting lineup but has averaged fewer minutes (20.2) than Serge Ibaka (24.4) and Nick Collison (21.2) off the bench.
Learning from Game 5 blowoutSometimes when a team gets blown out, it doesn’t watch the tape. The Thunder, though, reviewed the first half of Game 5, examining why they fell behind 14-1 and trailed 55-34 at halftime. "You get beat that badly sometimes you can loose track of what really went wrong because so many things went wrong,” Collison said. "But when you go back and watch it, that can almost be a confidence builder because you see we did almost nothing right. If you do nothing right, of course you’re going to get beat that bad. "It’s things we see we can correct, things we’ve done most of the season, most of this series. Our thought process is we’re going to do those things that got us here in the first place and play much better.”
Invaluable experienceBecause of the Lakers’ dominating performance in Game 5, most analysts would be shocked to see the Thunder win Games 6 and 7 to advance to the next round. Regardless of how much longer the Thunder stays in the playoffs, Brooks said the experience will be invaluable. "One benefit is you had a pretty good year you can build on,” Brooks said. "We still have a good chance. We’re not down. Everybody won’t be wearing a black uniform. We have an opportunity to take care of our home court. We’ve done it the last two games. Our energy has to be much better. "They took care of their job. They won their three home games. We have to win our third home game to make it a seven-game series. But the playoffs do a lot. Every team has to go through playoff battles. What’s to say we can’t win this series and go to the next series and have a better playoff (experience)?”
Slow startsThe Lakers have outscored the Thunder by 30 points in the first quarter in the series. In four of the five games, Oklahoma City has fallen behind 27-13, 29-18, 10-0 and 14-1. OKC missed its first 13 shots to start Game 5. "We have to hit some shots,” Brooks said. "Looking back, we took three or four bad shots. We have to clean that up. We can’t take bad shots. We have to keep moving the ball and make sure the ball finds a good shot and then make (those) shots.”
Rebounding barometerThe team that outrebounds the other wins the game? So far that’s been the case in the series, a trend that produced similar results during the regular season for the Thunder. Including the playoffs, OKC is 42-15 when its outrebounds its opponent, 10-20 when it doesn’t.
Collison charging aheadCollison, who led the league during the regular season in taking charging fouls (57), also is the leader in the playoffs (five). "It means a lot (to me),” Collison said. "It’s a good play for the defense. If you don’t block a lot of shots you need to do something at the rim when guys drive in there. It’s a turnover. It’s a good play that can give you some momentum.”