Nov 27, 2013; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder power forward Serge Ibaka (9) attempts to block a shot attempt by San Antonio Spurs center Tiago Splitter (22) during the second quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

2014 NBA Western Conference Finals: Spurs-Thunder Game 5 is Tonight

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May 27, 2014; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder fans cheer on their team against the San Antonio Spurs in game four of the Western Conference Finals of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

2014 Western Conference Finals: San Antonio Spurs vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

Game 5 starts tonight at 9:00 PM ET on TNT at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas.

Home-court advantage has certainly been a theme throughout these 2014 NBA Playoffs, and the Spurs will need all the advantage they can get to beat these white-hot Thunder, full of confidence, momentum and Serge Ibaka.

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Featured Columnist Ethan Cohen gives three keys for the Spurs to win Game 5 at home, one of them being to start Boris Diaw.

Due to Tiago’s no-show in Game 4 (3 points and 1 rebound in 19 minutes of action), Pop  opted to give Boris Diaw more minutes in order to spread the floor and get some kind of production.  As a result, Boris had the best game of anybody in a Spurs uniform with a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds on 5-11 shooting.  Many Spurs fans were calling out Pop for playing Boris so much in Game 3 when he wasn’t shooting well (3-10 from the field and 0-3 from three), but an aggressive and productive Diaw could really help counter the Thunder’s athleteic defense.

When Ibaka guards Boris, Boris hangs out on the perimeter in order to pull Ibaka away from the paint and give the Spurs the proper spacing they love.  In Game 4, Boris shot decent from three (2-6), but he didn’t get much help from any of his teammates.  WhenKevin Durant is matched up on Boris, Boris uses his girth and post skills to move KD and get some easy buckets down low.  A lot of these shots are contested due to Ibaka’s help defense, so Boris needs to continue to look for open teammates on the perimeter when the help shifts to him.

Speaking of Tiago Splitter, he’s been fined by the NBA for violating anti-flopping rules (via Project Spurs):

The NBA has announced that San Antonio Spurs center Tiago Splitter is being fined $5,000 for violating the league’s anti-flopping rules during Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals.

According to the release, the violation occurred during the second quarter of last night’s game at the Chesapeake Energy Arena, and the league has also provided video of the violation.

Splitter and the Spurs will be back in action tomorrow night for Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals at the AT&T Center.

OKC’s Reggie Jackson, too, will be ready to go for Game 5. According to NBA.com, he sprained his ankle during Game 4.

Jackson said he expects to be back in the starting lineup for Thursday’s Game 5 of the Western Conference finals. That’s significant news for Oklahoma City, which has been on quite a roll since Jackson and Serge Ibaka joined the starting lineup in Game 3, helping to turn a series that was all San Antonio Spurs.

“It’s not really a big deal,” Jackson said after Tuesday’s trouncing of the Spurs. “No excuse. I think a lot of people about this time have a bum ankle or a ding-up. Just play through it.”

Playing through it hardly seemed possible after watching the replay multiple times. And even after the game as the typically feisty Jackson gingerly walked in shower shoes, it seemed the real damage might not be discovered until the morning.

But he seems to have escaped that trap.

“He’s feeling pretty good,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said after a light team workout Wednesday. “He will get treatment throughout the day and then [Thursday], but he’s feeling pretty good today.”

We all know Game 5 is huge in the playoffs, and all the Spurs have to do is continue to win their home games to make it back to the NBA Finals.

Easier said than done.

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Tags: 2014 NBA Playoffs 2014 Western Conference Finals San Antonio Spurs

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