The Thunder won the first game on the road in the Western Conference Finals Game 5, and as a result took a surprising 3-2 series lead. It was surprising to many (me included), but evidently not to these Thunder. They expressed confidence in themselves, even as they fell behind 0-2. Facing that deficit, the Thunder took one game at a time, recovered their confidence, reinvigorated their defense, and started chipping away at the Spurs' once-daunting stature.
Game 5 played out much as Game 4, with OKC controlling most of the way but never able to truly shut down the Spurs' attack. Both Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan had very good games, but their point man Tony Parker struggled, and the truth of the matter has become readily apparent. The Spurs go because of Parker's play. If Parker cannot play the way he likes to, everything else starts to break down. Both Manu and Duncan can produce points on their own, but it is the Spurs' supporting cast of players like Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green, and Matt Bonner that enable the Spurs to distance themselves. OKC has removed those players from the conversation.
By playing such opportunistic defense, the Thunder were able to take a lead into the final moments of play. Even with the Spurs clawing at their backs, OKC did not fold. When James Harden hit the biggest 3-ball of his life to push the lead to 5 with under 30 seconds to play, the Spurs were in a place from which they could not recover.