Thunder Goal Remains the Same: Win 1 in Miami

MIAMI – The goal remains the same as it was when the Thunder arrived in Miami last Friday: Win one of the three games at American Airlines Arena, and send the NBA Finals back to Oklahoma City.

After narrow misses in Games 3 and 4, the Thunder has one more opportunity tonight in Game 5 (8 p.m. Central, ABC-TV and the Thunder Radio Network).

The Thunder trails the best-of-seven series, 3-1. With a win tonight, the Thunder sends the series back to Chesapeake Energy Arena on Sunday for Game 6; a loss, and the season is over.

“Our back is against the wall, but it’s not over,” Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks said. “We still have some fight in us. We’re just going to have to play (tonight) with the urgency that you have to play with, that we’ve done.

“We understand the moment, we understand where we are. It’s win or you’re done of the season.”

The Thunder took the court this morning for its shootaround session. The mood was upbeat, the energy high.

“We’ll see what happens,” Thunder forward Kevin Durant said. “We’re going to keep fighting to the end, and hopefully we can take this thing back to the crib.”

Added center Kendrick Perkins: “We don’t need to put any pressure on ourselves. We just need to go out and play basketball. At the end of the day we either win (tonight) or we lose the series. I feel confident we will bounce back. We’re going to leave it all out on the court. … They’re going to have to beat our best because we’re definitely going to leave it all out there.”


Some notes and quotes from this morning's shootaround session:

The Thunder has taken a one-game-at-a-time approach throughout this season, so it is no surprise that it is not looking forward or behind. The sole focus is tonight.

“We can’t really worry about if we win or what happens if we lose,” guard Russell Westbrook said. “We just have to play the game, and do what we need to do to come out with a win.”

-- Westbrook said it will be important for guard James Harden to come out and play his game, be aggressive, continue to rebound and defend well like he has been and knock down some shots.

-- Derek Fisher said the team is coming in to win tonight. In the postseason, regardless of the format, you don’t look at winning multiple games in a row. You look at winning the next game. That opportunity is in front of the Thunder now.

-- Fisher said the Thunder just has to stay solid and continue to believe in each other. The team has had chances to win, but that doesn’t matter now. They have to win tonight.

-- Fisher said that winning loose balls and rebounding are not simple things, rather those are major parts of determining wins and losses. Those types of things have to go the Thunder’s way in order to win tonight.

-- Fisher said that holding the Heat to 19 points in the first quarter was what allowed the Thunder to get separation, but the Heat scored in the high 20’s and 30’s the rest of the way, so the team can’t have defensive break downs.

-- Brooks said the Thunder wants to create the rhythm of the game to be in its favor. The team has to keep up the pace consistently for four quarters. It was able to do that in the first quarter of Game 4 but the Thunder needs to do it for a full 48 minutes.

-- Brooks said that Kevin Durant will guard everybody on the court at some point during the game. He will defend LeBron James at points while also guarding Mario Chalmers. Durant is a versatile defender, and Brooks emphasized that everything with the Thunder starts on the defensive end.