NBA Playoffs Picks: Oklahoma City Thunder at Houston Rockets Game #6
2013 NBA Playoffs – Western Conference Quarterfinals Game #6
#1 Oklahoma City Thunder at #8 Houston Rockets
Thunder Lead Best of Seven Series 3-2
Friday, May 3, 2013, 9:35 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Toyota Center – Houston, Texas
Opening Line: Pick
Current Line: Houston -1 1/2
Opening Total: 208
Current Total: 206
Opening Money Line: Rockets -110 / Thunder -110
Current Money Line: Rockets -125 / Thunder +105
The Oklahoma City Thunder and New York Knicks both had 3-0 series leads in their first round series against the Houston Rockets and Boston Celtics respectively. However, both The Thunder and Knicks have lost two straight games and now find themselves facing game sixes on the road in hostile environments. No NBA team has ever come back from a 3-0 series deficit, and only 3 teams have even forced a game 7.
Oklahoma City had the second best record in the league and the best in the West with 60 wins. They won game one by 29 points. However, each game after that has been decided by 7 points or less. All-star guard Russell Westbrook injured his knee in game 2, and had surgery last week. He missed the last 3 games. In game five Wednesday night in Oklahoma City, Houston took an early 16 point lead, but the Thunder clawed their way back. Rockets’ guard James Harden scored 31 points despite battling flu-like symptoms. He is listed as probable Friday with strep throat/ Thunder forward Kevin Durant scored 36 points, but was scoreless in the fourth quarter. Durant took only 5 shots in the quarter. Durant is doing his part but isn’t getting much help from his teammates in carrying the scoring load. Guard Reggie Jackson took over Westbrook’s spot in the starting line-up and is averaging 16 points a game in the playoffs. No one else is scoring regularly though and Durant is being double and triple teamed.
Oklahoma City is coached by Scott Brooks. The Thunder are 51-34-2 ATS and the total is 38-47-2 this season. Oklahoma City is outscoring teams 106-97 this season. The Thunder are #3 in scoring and #9 in points allowed. OKC is shooting 48.1% from the field and 37.7% from 3 point range. The Thunder are #3 in both categories. Oklahoma City leads the league in free throw shooting at 82.8%. The Thunder average 43.6 rebounds per game and give up 40.7 per game. They are #6 in both rebounding and rebounds allowed. OKC opponents are shooting 42.5% from the field and 34.6% from 3 point range. The Thunder are #2 in opponents’ field goal percentage, and #6 in three point defense. Oklahoma City averages 21.4 assists, 8.3 steals, 7.6 blocks, and 14.6 turnovers per game.
Forward Kevin Durant averages 28.1 points, 7.9 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 1.4 steals, and 1.3 blocks per game. Durant lost the scoring title to Knicks’ forward Carmelo Anthony by six tenths of a point. Guard Russell Westbrook averaged 23.2 points, 5.2 rebounds, 7.4 assists, and 1.8 steals per game. Second year guard Reggie Jackson will start in place of Westbrook for the playoffs. He was the second leading scorer for the Thunder in games 3 and 4.. Guard Kevin Martin averages 14 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 1.4 assists. Martin was acquired in the James Harden trade. Forward Serge Ibaka averages 13.2 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 3 blocks per game. Guard Thabo Sefolosha averages 7.6 points, 3.9 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 1.3 steals per game. Nick Collison, Ronnie Brewer, Kendrick Perkins, and Hasheem Thabeet make up the rest of the rotation. The Thunder signed veteran point guard Derek Fisher late in the regular season for the playoff run.
Houston is coached by Kevin McHale. Houston is 44-42-1 ATS and the total is 43-43 this season. The Rockets are outscoring teams 106-103 this season. The Rockets are second in the league in scoring but are #28 in points allowed. The Rockets are shooting 46.1% from the field and 36.6% from 3 point range. Houston is #9 in the league in both categories. The Rockets make 75.4% of their free throws. Houston averages 43.4 rebounds and gives up 41.6 per game. The Rockets are in the top 11 in both categories. Houston opponents are shooting 45.4% from the field and 36.7% from 3 point range. The Rockets average 23.2 assists, 8.3 steals, 4.4 blocks, and 15.8 turnovers per game.
Guard James Harden averages 25.9 points, 4.9 rebounds, 5.8 assists, and 1.8 steals per game. Harden finished 5th in the league in scoring, behind Carmelo Anthony, Durant, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James. Small forward Chandler Parsons averages 15.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1 steal a game. Point guard Jeremy Lin averages 13.4 points, 3 rebounds, 6.1 assists, and 1.6 steals per game. He is probable with a chest injury after missing the last two games. Shooting guard Carlos Delfino averages 10.6 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 steal a game. He is doubtful with a foot injury. Center Omer Asik averages 10.1 points, 11.7 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game. Asik made 13 of 18 free throws down the stretch after Oklahoma City fouled him numerous times in the fourth to try and cut into the lead. He made 56% of his free throws in the regular season. Francisco Garcia, Donatas Motiejunas, Greg Smith, Thomas Robinson, Patrick Beverly and Terrance Jones make up the rest of the rotation. Beverly was involved in the play that injured Westbrook and has received death threats from people in Oklahoma City, most notably a Thunder ball boy.
Oklahoma City is 8-1 ATS against teams with winning home records, 6-1 in road games, 22-8 after failing to cover, 10-4 after allowing 100 points or more, 37-17 after a straight up loss, 45-22-3 against Western Conference teams, 2-5 overall, and on e one day rest, 1-4 after the opponent allows 100 points or more, 1-5 after the opponent scored 100 points or more, and after scoring 100 points or more. The underdog is 4-0 ATS in the last 4 in this series. Four of the last five games have gone under the total in the series.
Houston is 5-1 ATS when the opponent scores 100 points, and on one day rest, 5-2 when the opponent allows 100 points or more, and against teams with winning road records, 3-9 after a cover, and 2-6 after scoring 100 points or more. The Rockets are 7-3 ATS in the last 10 at home against the Thunder.
As mentioned, Durant needs more scoring help from his teammates other than Jackson. However, Durant also needs to be more aggressive and take more shots especially in the fourth. I think if he does, then OKC closes out the series. If not Houston forces game seven.
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