NBA Playoffs: Memphis Grizzlies @ Oklahoma City Thunder Game 5

Game 5: Memphis Grizzlies @ Oklahoma City Thunder Weds. May 15, 2013 9:30 p.m. ET

The defending Western Conference champion Oklahoma City Thunder were able to improve upon their regular season performance during the 2012-13 NBA season finishing as the top seed in the conference. Once having clinched the West, Kevin Durant and company were considered to be the biggest threat to the Miami Heat’s chances of winning an NBA title yet again, at least until All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook went down with a season-ending knee injury.

Without Westbrook in the lineup the rest of the way, Durant has had to shoulder the load for the Thunder. Unfortunately, despite a solid effort by Durant, the Thunder continue to struggle without their floor general and will enter Game 5 against the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday facing elimination.

Oklahoma City will be facing elimination for the first time in the NBA playoffs on Wednesday after being favored to win the West in Las Vegas odds. The Thunder are still a very talented team with a promising future ahead, but simply not the same team without Westbrook running the show in the backcourt.

Although Durant may be able to lead the Thunder to one more win in this series in order to keep this team alive for at least one more game, the consensus seems to be the Grizzlies are destined to advance to the Western Conference Finals.

At this point in time, the Thunder are favored to get the win in Game 5 at Chesapeake Energy Arena with a -4 point spread. Oklahoma City will likely pull out the win at home while staying alive against a clearly better all-around Grizzlies squad that has been taking advantage of the shorthanded Thunder.

Marc Gasol and company will put up a fight against the Thunder, but might not be able to upset Oklahoma City on Wednesday.

Prediction: Oklahoma City Thunder -4

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