The Golden State Warriors have been the surprise story of this year's playoffs, upsetting the Denver Nuggets in the first-round and playing the San Antonio Spurs to a draw for most of their thrilling second-round series. However, it could all be over on Thursday, as the Warriors head back to the Oracle Arena down 3-2 and facing elimination.
No one predicted Golden State would make it this far at the beginning of the season, but a moral victory would offer them few consolations if they lose in Game 6. Were it not for their dramatic 16-point collapse at the end of Game 1, the Warriors would likely have been the ones poised to move on to the Western Conference Finals.
The Spurs, on the other hand, don't want to extend this series any further, not with a dangerous Memphis Grizzlies team watching from home. San Antonio needs to wrap up this series and get their older players rest before what would likely be a long, drawn-out blood bath against a bruising Memphis frontline.
Can San Antonio continue to harass Curry and Thompson?
Some of it could be heavy legs, but the lack of production from the Warriors backcourt in Game 5 could very well be a defensive battering by the Spurs. Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry shot 6-of-22 for 13 combined points as Gregg Popovich sent different bodies at the duo. For the first time this entire season, Thompson didn't get off a three-point shot -- he averages 6.4 attempts per game during the regular season and five per game in the playoffs -- and Curry went 1-for-7.
San Antonio is locking down on the backcourt, and Golden State needs to create different opportunities for the duo in this chess match.
Does Bogut make the most of his time?
The Warriors' interior game isn't going to put up gaudy numbers, but they need Andrew Bogut to especially be invested in the game. Staying out of foul trouble is key. In the Warriors two wins and even in the Game 1 overtime loss, he was involved and played good enough minutes to make a difference. While he's banged up, Bogut getting the most out of his limited floor time will help a Golden State team without much else in terms of interior defense.
Will Mark Jackson and the crowd push Golden State?
The Warriors, unlike many young teams, have responded following each loss of the series. Battered and bruised, they'll need to do it one more time with the rowdy crowd behind them. Coach Mark Jackson's message has been to equal the cagey Spurs, but an 18-point loss in Game 5 could have been the breaking point.
San Antonio shot a healthy 51.9 percent from the floor and got contributions across the board as unselfish play turned into redhot shooting. The Spurs' confidence reached a high, and the Warriors must come out in attack mode to truly cut off their opponents momentum entering Game 6.
Time: 10:30 p.m. ET
Odds: The Warriors opened as one-point favorites, according to OddsShark.com.