NBA Betting Preview: Oklahoma City Thunder at Los Angeles Clippers
Oklahoma City Thunder at Los Angeles Clippers
Staples Center – Los Angeles, California
Wednesday, April 9, 2014, 10:35 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: Los Angeles -3 1/2
Current Line: Los Angeles -3
Opening Total: 213
Current Total: 210
Opening Money Line: Clippers -165 / Thunder +140
Current Money Line: Clippers -155 / Thunder +130
There is a good chance the 56-21 Oklahoma City Thunder and 55-23 Los Angeles Clippers will meet in the second round of the Western Conference playoffs. First though the two teams meet Wednesday at the Staples Center in a key regular season clash. Both teams have already clinched their respective division titles, OKC in the Northwest and LA in the Pacific. The Thunder lead the Clippers by a game and a half for the #2 seed. Oklahoma City has an outside shot of catching the San Antonio Spurs for the #1 seed, but trail by 3 1/2 games with only 5 games to play. Los Angeles is 2 1/2 games up on the current #4 seed Houston Rockets.
The Clippers have won 2 of 3 games this season against the Thunder. LA won at home 111-103 November 13 and in Oklahoma City 125-117 February 23. OKC won at home 105-91 November 21. Thunder forward Kevin Durant has averaged 29 points a game in 24 career games against the Clippers, including 34.2 in the last 6 meetings. He scored 42 points in the February 23 home loss to the Clippers.
Oklahoma City is coached by Scott Brooks. The Thunder beat the Sacramento Kings 107-92 in Sacramento last night to snap a two game losing streak. Durant scored 23 points to break a 41 game streak of scoring at least 25 points, the third longest in NBA history. The day before, Durant had said to a reporter he hated the streak and wished it was over so the focus could return to the team. The Thunder are 41-34-2 ATS and the total is 39-38 this season.
Oklahoma City is outscoring teams 106-100 this season. The Thunder are #5 in scoring and #11 in points allowed. OKC is shooting 47.3% from the field and 36.8% from 3 point range. The Thunder are #6 in field goal percentage and #12 in three point shooting. Oklahoma City is second in the league in free throw shooting at 80.44% from the line. Opponents are shooting 43.5% from the field and 35.7% from 3 point range. The Thunder are #3 in opponents’ field goal percentage. Oklahoma City averages 44.8 rebounds per game and opponents average 40.8 per game. The Thunder are 36 in rebounding and #3 in rebounds allowed. OKC averages 21.9 assists, 15.5 turnovers, 8.2 steals and 6.1 blocks per game. Opponents average 21.8 assists, 15.1 turnovers, 8.3 steals and 3.6 blocks per game.
Durant will likely win his first regular season MVP trophy this season. He leads the league in scoring at 32 points per game, and also averages 77.6 rebounds, 5.6 assists, and 1.3 steals per game. Point guard Russell Westbrook averages 21.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 6.9 assists and 1.9 steals per game. He sat out last night because Brooks has rested him in the first game of a back-to-back since he returned from knee surgery in late February. Westbrook is listed as probable tonight against the Clippers. Forward Serge Ibaka averages 15.2 points, 8.6 rebounds, 1 assist and 2.6 blocks per game. Ibaka is second in the league in blocks Guard Reggie Jackson averages 13.3 rebounds, 4 rebounds, 4.2 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. Forward Caron Butler, acquired at the trade deadline from the Milwaukee Bucks, averages 10.1 points, 3.4 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1 steal per game. Jeremy Lamb, Thabo Sefolosha, Derek Fisher, Nick Collison, Perry Jones, Kendrick Perkins, and Steven Adams will also get significant minutes in the rotation.
Los Angeles is coached by Doc Rivers. The Clippers have won 18 of their last 21 games, and 5 of the last 6. The Clippers routed the Los Angeles Lakers 120-97 in their last game Sunday. It was a “home” game for the Clippers against their Staples Center co-tenants. Los Angeles is 44-33-1 ATS and the total is 41-36-1 this season.
LA is outscoring teams 108-101. The Clippers lead the league in scoring and are #14 in points allowed. Los Angeles is shooting 47.5% from the field and 35.4% from 3 point range. The Clippers are #3 in field goal percentage. LA is #26 in free throw shooting at 73.1% from the field. Opponents are shooting 44.2% from the field and 33.2% from 3 point range. The Clippers lead the league in 3 point defense and are #7 in opponents’ field goal percentage. Los Angeles averages 42.9 rebounds per game and opponents average 43.5 per game. The Clippers average 24.5 assists, 13.9 turnovers, 8.7 steals and 4.8 blocks per game. Opponents average 23.3 assists, 15.6 turnovers, 7 steals and 3.4 blocks per game.
LA Forward Blake Griffin averages 24 points, 9.6 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. Point guard Chris Paul averages 19 points, 4.3 rebounds, 10.8 assists, and 2.5 steals per game. Paul leads the league in assists and steals. Guard Jamal Crawford is out until the playoffs with an Achilles’ injury. He averages 18.6 points, 2.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game. Guard J.J. Redick averages 15.5 points, 2.1 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. Guard Darren Collison averages 11.4 points, 2.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.2 steals per game. Center DeAndre Jordan averages 10.4 points, 13.8 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks per game. Jordan leads the league in rebounding and is third in blocks per game. Forward Matt Barnes averages 9.9 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game. He is questionable with an illness. Danny Granger, Jared Dudley, and Willie Green will also get significant minutes. Granger is out until the playoffs with a hamstring injury.
Oklahoma City is 2-5 ATS after a straight up win of 10 points or more and after the opponent scored 100 points or more in the previous game, 2-5-1 against Pacific Division teams, 1-5 in road games, 1-4 after a cover, against teams with winning records, and in back-to-backs, and 0-4 against teams with winning home records. The over is 5-1 ATS in the last 6 games in series and 4-1 in the last 5 in LA.
Los Angeles is 5-1 ATS against teams with winning records, overall, and against Western Conference teams, 4-1 after scoring 100 points or more, 8-3-1 after a cover, 5-2 on two days rest, and 3-7 in Wednesday games. The Clippers have covered 5 of the last 7 in Los Angeles against the Thunder.
The Clippers have been red hot recently, especially at home. A win tonight would give them the tiebreaker for the #2 seed and move them just a half game back of the Thunder. A Thunder win would almost wrap up the #2 seed as OKC would be 2 1/2 games up and the Clippers would have only 3 games left. I think Durant and Griffin will have an epic scoring battle tonight. I like the Clippers to win a tough game at home.