Donovan: No Plans to Change The Starting Five

Billy Donovan is saying he will stick with regular starting five for Game 6 of the Western Conference Quarters. We'll tell you why he could shake things up.
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Despite scoring only 39 points (their lowest total of the series) in Game 5, Thunder Head Coach Billy Donovan has no plans to change his starting lineup. "I feel good about those guys." 

Whether it's coach-speak or he believes in them, Dovan needs to be flexible with his rotations in Game 6. He could go small and take Steven Adams off the floor, but that pretty much means you're going to give up getting offensive boards. 

You could start the closing lineup with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Chris Paul, Dennis Schroder, Danilo Gallinari, and Adams, but we saw in Game 5 that Gilgeous-Alexander can't guard Harden to save his life. 

The Thunder are who they are, and as Donovan has said, all series long, Oklahoma City must play with tempo and get back on defense. For as good as Houston was from beyond the arc on Saturday, they still had 44 points in the paint, and Eric Gordon, who was struggling from three, found ways to score with midrange jumpers and going to the rim.

The Thunder must also find a way to stop the bleeding in the third quarter. Through five games, Houston has a 149-121 advantage during the third frame. 

"Third quarters coming out certainly could be better; there's no question I think that's something we've been challenged with," Donovan said. "Certainly staring games or starting the third quarter better, there's something there, but I don't know if necessarily just changing the starting lineup helps that as much as collectively as a group we all gotta be better."

Expect Donovan to be quicker on the trigger. If Oklahoma City has another rough shooting night, don't be surprised if he sacrifices some defense for the offense by taking Dort off the floor for Schroder, or even if he puts Adams on the sidelines and goes small.  

We could see more of Darius Bazley and Mike Muscala; Donovan has to coach like there is no tomorrow because there isn't. 

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With more than 20 years of experience hosting local and national radio shows, Erik Gee is a fixture of Oklahoma sports media. He has covered the Oklahoma City Thunder for the past six seasons. He is also the co-host of the Pat Jones show on 97.1 The Sports Animal in Tulsa.