2014 NBA Playoffs
Western Conference Semifinals Game #3
#2 Oklahoma City Thunder at #3 Los Angeles Clippers
Best of Seven Series Tied 1-1
Friday, May 9, 2014, 10:35 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Staples Center – Los Angeles, California
Opening Line: Los Angeles -4
Current line: Los Angeles -4
Opening Total: 214
Current Total: 213 1/2
Opening Money Line: Clippers -170 / Thunder +145
Current Money Line: Clippers -180 / Thunder +155
After each team won a game in convincing fashion in Oklahoma City, the Western Conference semifinal series between the #2 seed Oklahoma City Thunder and #3 Los Angeles Clippers is tied. Now the series switches to LA for games three and four starting Friday night.
Los Angeles took the home court advantage with a decisive 122-105 win in game one. Oklahoma City faced a virtual must win in game two at home. The Thunder responded with a 112-101 win Wednesday night to even the series. The two teams also split four regular season meetings with each team winning a game on the other’s home court.
The day before game two Wednesday, Thunder forward Kevin Durant was awarded his first league MVP trophy. He made an emotional speech where he mentioned each of his teammates by name. Some are saying that speech fired up the Thunder and motivated them to a great game two performance. That might have been part of it, but I think facing the prospect of going down 0-2 to the Clippers was the bigger motivation.
Durant would score 17 points in the first quarter as Oklahoma City took a 37-28 lead into the second quarter. LA would trim the lead to 5 points by halftime. The Thunder pulled away in the third quarter and would expand the lead to 17 by the end of the quarter. the Clippers would never get withing single digits in the fourth, and Oklahoma City cruised to the 11 point victory.
Durant finished with 32 points, 12 rebounds and 9 assists. His coach Scott Brooks took him out with 1:21 left in the game costing Durant a shot at a triple double. Durant’s teammate guard Russell Wilson did record his third triple double in the last 5 playoff games. Westbrook had 31 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. No teammates have ever recorded triple doubles in the same playoff game. Serge Ibaka and Thabo Sefolosha each had 14 points.
Guard J.J. Redick led the Clippers with 18 points. Chris Paul had 17 points, 11 assists, 5 rebounds and 3 steals, after scoring 32 in game one. Blake Griffin had 15 points and 6 rebounds.
Oklahoma City is coached by Scott Brooks. OKC is 46-41-3 ATS and the total is 48-42 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 49-41-1 ATS this season and the total is 50-40-1 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 four games.
Oklahoma City is 3-1-1 ATS on one day rest, 1-3-2 in Friday games, 1-3-1 in road games, 2-7-1 against teams with winning home records, and 1-6 in Conference semifinal games. The over is 10-4 in the last 14 games in this series.
Los Angeles is 5-0 ATS after a straight up loss by 10 points or more, 7-1-1 in Friday games, 20-8 after a straight up loss, 2-5 in conference semifinal games, overall, against Western Conference teams, after the opponent allows 100 points or more in the previous game, and after scoring 100 points or more in the previous game, and 3-9 against teams with winning records.
These teams are very evenly matched, and home court really doesn’t matter. Durant and Westbrook will usually get theirs as All-Star players do, but the key is for Oklahoma City to get help from the other players on the roster. After dominating game one, Chris Paul was held mostly in check. He battled foul trouble in the first half, and had to sit. I don’t like either side tonight, but I do like the over.