NBA Playoffs Western Conference Semifinals: #3 Oklahoma City Thunder vs #2 San Antonio Spurs

2016 NBA Playoffs
Western Conference Semifinals
#3 Oklahoma City Thunder vs #2 San Antonio Spurs
Best of Seven Series Format: 2-2-1-1-1
Odds to win Series Courtesy of 5Dimes Sportsbooks: Spurs -280 / Thunder +240

Game #1 – Saturday, April 30, 2016, 8:35 pm Eastern, TV: TNT
AT&T Center – San Antonio, Texas
Opening Line: San Antonio -6
Current Line: San Antonio -6 1/2
Opening Total: 201
Current Total: 201
Opening Money Line: Spurs -265 / Thunder +215
Current Money Line: Spurs -290 / Thunder +230

The Spurs and Thunder meet in the Western Conference Semifinals. Game one is Saturday in San Antonio.
The Spurs and Thunder meet in the Western Conference Semifinals. Game one is Saturday in San Antonio.

For all intents and purposes the Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs really had first round byes in the NBA playoffs against injury decimated teams. Now the playoffs really begin for the Thunder and Spurs as they meet in the Western Conference semifinals. Game One is Saturday in San Antonio.

Oklahoma City is coached by Billy Donovan. Oklahoma City is 55-27 and won the Northwest Division by 11 games over the Portland Trail Blazers and were the #3 seed in the West. OKC is 40-46-3 ATS and the total is 41-46 this season. The Thunder beat the Dallas Mavericks in five games in the first round including 118-104 in the clincher Monday night. All four Thunder wins in the series were by double digits.

San Antonio is coached by Gregg Popovich. San Antonio is 47-39 ATS and the total is 36-48-2 this season. The Spurs went 67-15 in the regular season and won the Southwest Division by 25 games over the 42-40 Grizzlies and Dallas Mavericks. Normally, 67 wins would get you the #1 seed and home court through the playoffs, but the Golden State Warriors won an NBA record 73 games. San Antonio swept the Grizzlies in the first round, including 116-95 in the clincher last Sunday.

San Antonio has won four of the five playoff meetings against Oklahoma City dating back to when the franchsise was in Seattle. This is the third playoff meeting between the Thunder and Spurs since 2012. The teams last met in the 2014 Western Conference Finals with San Antonio coming out on top in six games. The teams split the regular season series with each winning twice at home.

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Oklahoma City is outscoring teams 112-83 in the playoffs. The Thunder are #1 in scoring in the playoffs. OKC is shooting 47.6% from the field and 36.4% from three point range. Oklahoma City makes 78.2% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 43.6% from the field and 29% from three point range. OKC averages 47.2 rebounds per game and opponents average 35 per game. The Thunder are #2 in rebounds allowed and #1 in rebounding. Oklahoma City averages 23 assists, 15.5 turnovers, 7.4 steals and 5.9 blocks per game.

Kevin Durant averages 26 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 3.2 assists during the playoffs. Russell Westbrook averages 26 points, 7.2 rebounds, 11.2 assists and 1.6 steals per game. He had 18 triple doubles this season to tie Magic Johnson in 1981-82 for the most in the last last 40 seasons. Center Enes Kanter averages 15.2 points and 7 rebounds per game. He is probable with a hip injury. Forward Serge Ibaka averages 12.6 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.4 steals, and 1.4 blocks per game. Dion Waiters averages 11 points, 3 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1 steal per game. Steven Adams, Randy Foye, Cameron Payne, Anthony Morrow, Nick Collison, and Andre Roberson will also get minutes in the rotation. Nazr Mohammed is  questionable.  Forward Mitch McGary is questionable for personal reasons.

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San Antonio is outscoring teams 103-81 in the playoffs. San Antonio is shooting 48.5% from the field and 47.1% from three point range. The Spurs make 82.4% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 39.4% from the field and 29.7% from three point range.  San Antonio averages 42 rebounds per game and opponents average 41 per game. San Antonio averages 24.5 assists, 12.5 turnovers, 8.3 steals and 5.9 blocks per game.

Kawhi Leonard averages 21.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 2.75 steals and 2.75 blocks  per game. LaMarcus Aldridge averages 14.5 points, 8 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.75 blocks per game. Tony Parker averages 9.8 points and 4.8 assists. Manu Ginobil, Tim Duncan. Patty Mills, Kevin Martin Boris Diaw, Danny Green and David West will also get time in the rotation. martin is probable with an illness.

The Thunder are 4-0 ATS against teams with winning home records, 5-1 in road games, 9-2 against teams with winning records, 4-1 in second round round games, 7-2 after failing to cover, 24-8-2 in Saturday games, 5-2 after allowing 100 points or more, overall and against Western Conference teams. The under is 4-1 in this series recently. The Thunder have covered all four meetings this season.

The Spurs are 6-1 ATS in first round games, 4-1 after a straight up win, overall and against Western Conference teams, 2-5 at home, 3-10 after scoring 100 points or more, 2-7 after a cover, 1-4 in Saturday games, 1-6 after a double digit win and 0-6 against Northwest Division teams. The favorite is 18-7-1 ATS in this series and the home team is 17-8-1.

With the uncertainty of Steph Curry’s knee, the winner of this series could be the favorite to win the NBA title. Oklahoma City has had difficulty closing out close games, blowing 14 fourth quarter leads in the regular season. They absolutely can’t do that against an elite team like the Spurs. The Thunder certainly have the talent to pull off the upset, as Durant and Westbrook are two of the top five players in the league. The key match-up will be between Durant and Leonard. When these teams met in the 2014 playoffs, Leonard was almost an offensive liability but now leads the Spurs in scoring. I think the Spurs win a hard fought series in seven games, and it starts with a close victory in game one.

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