Western Conference Playoffs: #1 Oklahoma City Thunder vs #8 Houston Rockets

2013 NBA Playoffs – Western Conference Playoffs
#1 Oklahoma City Thunder vs #8 Houston Rockets
Best of Seven Series Format: 2-2-1-1-1
Series Price: (Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker) Thunder -1800 / Rockets +1000
Game #1, Sunday, April 21, 2013, 9:30 pm Eastern, TV: TNT
Chesapeake Energy Arena – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Game #1 Opening Line: Oklahoma City -9 1/2
Current Line: Oklahoma City -10
Opening Total: 212 1/2
Current Total: 213
Opening Money Line: Thunder -550 / Rockets +450
Current Money Line: Thunder -625 / Rockets +500

The Thunder are -1800 to beat the Rockets in the Western Conference Quarterfinals.

The Thunder are -1800 to beat the Rockets in the Western Conference Quarterfinals.

The 60-22 Oklahoma City Thunder finished 2 games ahead of the San Antonio Spurs for the #1 seed in the Western Conference. The Thunder will take on the #8 seeded Houston Rockets in the Western Conference quarterfinals. The 45-37 Rockets are led by guard James Harden, who was acquired in a trade with the Thunder just days before the regular season started. Harden was an integral part of the Thunder team that made it all the way to the NBA Finals last year before losing to the Miami Heat. Harden won the NBA sixth man of the  year award last season.

The Thunder won the Northwest Division by 3 games over the Denver Nuggets. The Thunder went 7-3 in the last 10 games but lost at home 95-89 to the Milwaukee Bucks in the season finale Wednesday night. Kevin Durant did not play in that game, and the rest of the starters including Russell Westbrook played less than 10 minutes. Houston finished third in the Southwest Division. The Rockets lost their last two games of the regular season to fall from the #6 seed to the #8 seed in the West. Houston lost in overtime 99-95 at the Los Angeles Lakers Wednesday night. Had the Rockets won that game they would have been the #7 seed and played the Spurs in the first round.

Oklahoma City leads the series 2-1 against Houston this season. The Thunder won in Oklahoma City 120-98 November 28  and 124-94 in Houston December 29. The Rockets won 122-119 in Houston February 20. In the last meeting Harden scored a career high 46 points and the Rockets overcame a 14 point deficit in the fourth quarter.

Houston is coached by Kevin McHale. Houston is 41-40-1 ATS and the total is 41-41 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.

Harden averages 25.9 points, 4.9 rebounds, 5.8 assists, and 1.8 steals per game. Harden is 5th in the league in scoring, behind Carmelo Anthony, Kevin 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. Shooting guard Carlos Delfino averages 10.6 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 steal a game. Center Omer Asik averages 10.1 points, 11.7 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game. Francisco Garcia, Donatas Motiejunas, Greg Smith, Thomas Robinson, and Terrance Jones make up the rest of the rotation.

 

Oklahoma City is coached by Scott Brooks. The Thunder are 49-31-2 ATS and the total is 37-43-2 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 averages 23.2 points, 5.2 rebounds, 7.4 assists, and 1.8 steals per game. Guard Kevin Martin averages 14 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 1.4 assists. He is probable with a back injury. Martin was acquired in the 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, Reggie Jackson and Hasheem Thabeet  make up the rest of the rotation. Collison (undisclosed) and Perkins (hamstring) are both probable. The Thunder signed veteran point guard Derek Fisher late in the regular season for the playoff run.

Houston is 6-2 ATS on 3 or more days rest, 6-14-1 against Northwest teams, 4-10 in Sunday games, 3-8 in road games,   1-4 against teams with winning records, 1-5 overall and against Western Conference teams. The last 4 games in this series have gone over the total, and the over si also 5-1 in OKC.

Oklahoma City is 5-1 ATS against teams with winning records, 8-2-1 on 3 or more days rest, 12-4 against teams with losing road records, 20-7 after failing to cover, 16-6 at home, 18-7-1 in Sunday games and against Southwest teams, 43-19-3 against Western Conference teams, and 36-16 after a straight up win. The home team is 10-3 ATS in the last 13 in this series. The Thunder are 5-1 ATS in the last 6 at home against the Rockets.

This is a bad match-up for Houston as they like to play small ball. The Thunder are just better at playing small ball. This are 2 of the 3 highest scoring teams in the league along with the Nuggets. The difference is the Thunder are much better defensively.  The Thunder win this series in 5 games.

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