The San Antonio Spurs, who had been so dominant that they owned a 20-game winning streak that included two playoff sweeps, are currently on the brink of elimination in the Western Conference Finals.
The Oklahoma City Thunder, led by a high-scoring forward Kevin Durant, bounced back from two road losses to the Spurs to take three-straight victories, and are just one win away from advancing to the NBA Finals.
We never just thought that we were supposed to wait our turn, said Durant. We always wanted to go out and just take everything.
We came here, we wanted to get a win on their home floor. That's what it took for us to advance or to get to where we wanted to go.
Durant, 23, has proven he's capable of carrying a team past elite competition, as the sharpshooter has averaged 28.6 points per game, while shooting 53 percent from the field against the defensive-minded Spurs.
After the third-straight defeat, head coach Gregg Popovich expressed his disappointment in the Spurs recent losing streak.
Championship teams win on the road, Popovich said. Oklahoma City just did that. If we can't win on Wednesday, we're not a championship-caliber team. It's as simple as that.
Despite some excellent performances in the postseason, Spurs guard Tony Parker has struggled with his shooting in Game Four and Five.
In Game Five, Parker finished with more turnovers (5) than assists (4) and has totaled over 11 turnovers in the past three games. The veteran point guard also has only one steal since Game One.
But as the Spurs often win with an all-around team effort, they are also capable of losing because of poor collective performances.
Known for their defensive efforts, the Spurs uncharacteristically allowed the Thunder to shoot 56.4 percent from the field in Game Five, and have given up many opportunities that Oklahoma City has ultimately capitalized on.
It's either win or go home, guard Manu Ginobili said. Nobody is going to feel sorry about ourselves.
Game Six of the Western Conference Finals is set for Wednesday night in Oklahoma City at 9 p.m. ET. It will be broadcast on TNT. If you can't get to a television, you can watch a live stream online here.
Prediction: Though the veteran Spurs have strong chemistry and experience, the Thunder's speed and quickness may be too much for San Antonio to overcome. Look for James Harden, along with the rest of the Thunder bench, to force turnovers throughout the game. To keep pace, the Spurs will probably need to protect the ball and capitalize on Thunder mistakes. Expect Oklahoma City to close out the series with big numbers produced by Durant and Russell Westbrook.
Predicted Score: Thunder over Spurs, 106-98