Oklahoma City Thunder facing 'world of pain'
Kiwi Steven Adams says the Oklahoma City Thunder spirits are still high, after being forced into a game seven decider against the Golden State Warriors.
But pundits are generally predicting heartbreak for Adams and his teammates.
The home court Warriors are favourites to win the western conference showdown tomorrow (Tuesday), and go on to meet LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA finals.
"If you're asking about the spirit in our team, it's pretty good bro," said Adams, who has been an unmissable central character in a fascinating series which stands at three-all.
Having been written off beforehand, Oklahoma put themselves in a great position to upset the NBA champions. But the general feeling is that normal service has finally resumed after the Thunder collapsed late to lose game six at home.
The Bleacher Report said the Warriors were seven point favourites over the betting markets, while Sports Illustrated reckoned Oklahoma's "mistakes and bad habits came rushing back at once" as they were overhauled in game six.
ESPN's fast talking basketball analyst Stephen A Smith was the most strident of all pundits.
Smith said: "They (Oklahoma) are in a world of trouble - it's that simple. The chances of them winning game seven are slim to say the least.
"It doesn't mean they can't do it...when you have two of the five best players in the world in Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant you can beat anybody on any given night. They have a puncher's chance.
"Here's the problem. You have two (Golden State) guys in Steph Curry and Klay Thompson who as shooters are the best in the world. They are incredibly elite and they respond in big moments.
"And you have two superstars in (Oklahoma's) Durant and Westbrook who literally hit the panic button and choke. There's no other way to slice this.
"Game six in Oklahoma...poise went out the window. They looked over their heads."
What about omens, either way.
It was reported that the NBA's Facebook page inadvertently listed game one and two of the finals series with Cleveland playing Golden State. The page has been deleted.
Meanwhile Golden State's veteran Aussie centre Andrew Bogut was turning the screws saying the Thunder would be struggling mentally.
"It's tough to have that lead and keep us at bay and then all of a sudden we go over the top by three and then six," Bogut said. "I guess it's pretty demoralising."
- NZ Herald