Thunder Try To Close Out Lakers in Game 5
2012 NBA Playoffs Western Conference Quarterfinals Game #5
#3 Los Angeles Lakers at #2 Oklahoma City Thunder
Thunder Leads Best of 7 Series 3-1
Chesapeake Energy Arena – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Monday, May 21, 2012, 9:35 pm Eastern, TV: TNT
Opening Line: OKC -7 1/2
Current Line: OKC -7 1/2
Opening Total: 191 1/2
Current Total: 191
Opening Money Line: Thunder -385 / Lakers +325
Current Money Line: Thunder -400 / Lakers +300
On Saturday night, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Oklahoma City Thunder played game 4 of their Western Conference Semifinal series. Because of six playoff games in a four day stretch at the Staples Center, the Lakers and Thunder had to play games 3 and 4 back to back. Many thought the older Lakers would run out of gas having to play the back to back. It didn’t look like that was the case, as the Lakers led for most of the game. That was until late in the Fourth quarter when the Thunder rallied and escaped with a 103-100 win to take a commanding 3-1 series lead.Kevin Durant hit a 3 pointer with 13.7 seconds left to put the Thunder up for good.
It was the second dramatic come from behind victory for the Thunder in the series as they also won game 2 by ending the game on a 9-0 run to win 77-75. The Thunder won game 1 119-90, and the Lakers won game 3 99-96.
Now the series goes back to Oklahoma City for game 5. The Thunder can close out the series with a win, and would be wise to do just that so they don’t have to go back to Los Angeles for game 6. No team has come back from a 3-1 series deficit in the NBA playoffs since the Phoenix Suns came back to beat the Lakers in 2006 in the first round. In that series, Phoenix was the 2 seed though, and had games 5 and 7 at home.
The Lakers, coached by Mike Brown, led by 13 with 8 minutes to go, but were unable to close the deal. They were outscored 32-20 in the fourth quarter. Kobe Bryant had 38 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists. However, he was 2-10 on field goals in the fourth quarter, and one of those was a meaningless shot at the buzzer when the Thunder were up by 5 points. He made 14 of 17 free throws. Andrew Bynum had 18 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, and 3 blocks. He was 9-15 from the field. Metta World Peace had 14 points and 6 rebounds. Pau Gasol and Ramon Sessions each had 10 points. Gasol also added 5 rebounds, and Sessions had 5 assists. Bryant criticized Gasol for his soft play after the game. ”Pau has got to be more aggressive,” Bryant said of Gasol “He’s got to be aggressive, got to shoot the ball, drive to the basket, and he will next game.” The Laker bench only scored 10 total points.
As a team the Lakers were 37-86 from the field (43%) and were 5/18 from 3 point range. The Lakers were 21-29 from the free throw line. LA had 43 rebounds, 19 assists, and 8 turnovers. The Lakers had 15 fast break points, and 48 points in the paint.
The Thunder are coached by Scott Brooks. Point guard Russell Westbrook had 37 points in game 4, along with 5 assists. Westbrook was 15-26 from the field, and made 6 of 7 free throws. He is probable with a hip injury. Durant had 31 points, 13 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, and a block. He was 10-18 from the field including 3-4 from 3 point range. Durant made 8 of 10 free throws. Serge Ibaka had 14 points, 4 rebounds, and 5 blocks. NBA sixth man of the year James harden scored 12 points, with 6 rebounds. He made two late free throws that put the game out of reach for the Thunder.
The Thunder were 38-77 (49.4%) from the field and 6-16 from 3 point range. OKC made 21 of 25 free throws. The Thunder had 39 rebounds, 16 assists, and 7 turnovers. OKC had 14 fast points and 34 points in the paint.
Oklahoma City is 38-35-1 ATS and the total is 35-39 this season. Los Angeles is 32-44-1 ATS and the total is 42-34-1 this season. The favorite is 9-4-1 ATS in the last 14 in this series. The Thunder are 5-2-1 ATS in the last 8 against the Lakers.
The Lakers are 6-1-1 ATS after a straight up loss, 7-2 after failing to cover, 5-11 after allowing 100 points, 7-17-1 on one day rest, 2-5 in road games, and as a road underdog, 2-6 as a road underdog of 5-10.5 points, 2-8 as as a playoff underdog, 3-13 after scoring 100 points, 1-6 in Monday games, and 1-6-1 in Conference semifinal games.
The Thunder are 4-1-1 ATS versus teams with winning records, overall, and against Western Conference teams, 3-1-1 after a straight up win, and in conference semifinal games, 2-5 in Monday games, 3-8 after scoring 100 points, 1-4 as a favorite of 5-10.5 points, as a home favorite, and at home against teams with losing road records, 1-4-1 on one day rest, 1-5 at home, 1-6 as a home favorite of 5-10.5 points, and 0-4 after allowing 100 points.
It isn’t impossible to come back from a 3-1 series deficit, but the Lakers do face a daunting task. LA can look to their last series against Denver. The Nuggets were down 3-1 after losing a close game 4 at home. The Nuggets won two straight to force a game 7 before losing. I don’t see the Lakers doing that as Oklahoma City is a much better team. The OKC crowd will be be at a fever pitch. I think the Thunder wins and covers the 7.5 point spread to set up a Western Conference Finals showdown with the San Antonio Spurs.
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