2014 NBA Playoffs
Western Conference Semifinals Game #4
#2 Oklahoma City Thunder at #3 Los Angeles Clippers
Thunder Lead Best of Seven Series 2-1
Sunday, May 11, 2014, 3:35 pm Eastern, TV: ABC
Staples Center – Los Angeles, California
Opening Line: Los Angeles -4 1/2
Current line: Los Angeles -5
Opening Total: 215 1/2
Current Total: 215
Opening Money Line: Clippers -200 / Thunder +170
Current Money Line: Clippers -220 / Thunder +180
After losing the first game of the Western Conference semifinal series at home, the Oklahoma City Thunder have beaten the Los Angeles Clippers 2 straight times to take the lead in the series and regain homecourt advantage. Next up, the two teams play game four Sunday in Los Angeles. The Thunder look to take a commanding 3-1 series back to OKC for game five, while the Clippers can tie the series at 2-2.
Los Angeles took game one in Oklahoma City 122-105. The Thunder rebounded in game two 112-101 to tie the series. The series shifted to Los Angeles for game three Friday night. Oklahoma City won a hard fought 118-112 game.
The Clippers took a 33-29 lead by the end of the first Friday night, but would lead 63-61 at halftime. By contrast, in the evening’s other playoff game the Washington Wizards scored 63 points total for the whole game against the Indiana Pacers. There were 14 ties and seven lead changes in the first half.
In the third quarter, it was back and forth. Nether team would lead by double digits in the game. In the fourth quarter, Oklahoma City went to a smaller line-up that seemed to confuse Los Angeles on defense. The Clippers took a four point lead into the fourth quarter, but would never lead by more than that in the fourth. The Clippers took a 100-99 lead with just over 6 minutes to go in the game, but a Kevin Durant 3 pointer gave the Thunder a lead they would never relinquish. OKC would lead by as many as 8 and held on for the six point win.
Durant, the newly crowned league MVP, finished with 36 points and 6 rebounds. Russell Westbrook scored 23 points, and added 13 assists and 8 rebounds. He was 2 rebounds shy of his fourth triple double in the last six playoff games. Serge Ibaka added 20 points and 6 rebounds. Caron Butler and Reggie Jackson each scored 14 points off the bench for the Thunder. Blake Griffin had 34 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 blocks in the loss for the Clippers. Chris Paul had 21 points, 16 assists and 3 steals. Jamal Crawford had 20 points off the bench for LA.
Oklahoma City is coached by Scott Brooks. OKC is 47-41-3 ATS and the total is 49-42 this season.
Oklahoma City is outscoring teams 106-100 this season. The Thunder are #5 in scoring and #12 in points allowed. OKC is shooting 47.1% from the field and 36.1% from 3 point range. The Thunder are #6 in field goal percentage and #14 in three point shooting. Oklahoma City is second in the league in free throw shooting at 80.6% from the line. Opponents are shooting 43.6% from the field and 35.8% from 3 point range. The Thunder are #3 in opponents’ field goal percentage. Oklahoma City averages 44.7 rebounds per game and opponents average 40.9 per game. The Thunder are #7 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.
Forward Kevin Durant is the first player to win MVP and the scoring title in the same season since Allen Iverson in 2001. In the playoffs he is averaging 29.9 points, 9.6 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.6 blocks per game. Until games six and seven of the Memphis series, Durant struggled with his shot. Point guard Russell Westbrook averages 25.6 points, 9.7 rebounds, 8 assists and 1.6 steals per game. He is playing some of the best basketball of his career as well since he returned from knee surgery in late February. Forward Serge Ibaka averages 13 points, 8.9 rebounds, 1 assist and 2.6 blocks per game. Ibaka was second in the league in blocks. Guard Reggie Jackson averages 12.1 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game. Forward Caron Butler, acquired at the trade deadline from the Milwaukee Bucks, averages 7.9 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1 assist and 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. Fisher is questionable with a shoulder injury.
Los Angeles is coached by Doc Rivers. The Clippers are 49-42-1 ATS this season and the total is 51-40-1 this season.
LA is outscoring teams 108-101. The Clippers led the league in scoring during the regular season and were #14 in points allowed. Los Angeles is shooting 47.4% from the field and 35.2% from 3 point range. The Clippers are #3 in field goal percentage and #22 in three point shooting. LA is #26 in free throw shooting at 73% from the field. Opponents are shooting 44.1% from the field and 33.2% from 3 point range. The Clippers lead the league in 3 point defense and are #5 in opponents’ field goal percentage. Los Angeles averages 43 rebounds per game and opponents average 43.7 per game. LA is #25 in rebounds allowed. The Clippers average 24.6 assists, 13.9 turnovers, 8.6 steals and 4.9 blocks per game. Opponents average 23.3 assists, 15.4 turnovers, 7 steals and 3.5 blocks per game.
In the playoffs, Griffin is averaging 23.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 1.6 steals per game. He is an Oklahoma City native and played his college ball at the University of Oklahoma. Point guard Chris Paul averages 17.4 points, 4.7 rebounds, 9 assists, and 3.1 steals per game. Paul led the league in assists and steals during the regular season. He battled a sore hamstring during the whole series against the Warriors, but is listed a probable for game one against OKC. Guard Jamal Crawford averages 16.7 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game. He was named the NBA sixth man of the year last week. Guard J.J. Redick averages 14.3 points, 2 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game. Guard Darren Collison averages 9.6 points, 1.4 rebounds and 3 assists per game. Center DeAndre Jordan averages 12.1 points, 15.1 rebounds, and 4 blocks per game. Jordan led the league in rebounding and was third in blocks per game. Forward Matt Barnes averages 8.9 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game. Danny Granger, Glen Davis, Jared Dudley, and Willie Green will also get significant minutes. Forward Hedo Turkoglu is questionable with a back injury after missing the last five games.
Oklahoma City is 4-1 ATS against teams with winning records, overall, against Western Conference teams and against Pacific Division teams, 4-1-1 on one day rest, 5-11-1 in road games, 3-7-1 against teams with winning home records, 2-6 in conference semifinal games, and 1-4 in Sunday games. The underdog and road team are both 4-1 ATS in this series recently. The Thunder are 7-3 ATS in the last 10 games against the Clippers, including 4-1 in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles is 4-1 ATS in Sunday games, 16-7 after a straight up loss, 2-5 against teams with winning road records, 2-6 in Conference semifinal games, 1-4 after allowing 100 points or more in the previous game, against teams with winning records, after the opponent scores 100 points or more in the previous games, overall, against Western Conference teams, after the opponent allows 100 points or more, playing on one day rest, and after scoring 100 points or more. The over is 11-4 in this series recently, including 4-1 in Los Angeles.
In game three, the Clippers had 33 rebounds and the Thunder had 44. The rebounding margin shouldn’t be that high when LA has Griffin and Jordan. Yes, Oklahoma City is a good rebounding team with Durant, Westbrook, Ibaka, Perkins, and Adams. The Clippers had some defensive lapses in the fourth allowing the Thunder to pull away. I think Doc Rivers fixes those problems. I like the Clippers to win a close game and even the series at 2-2.