NBA Playoffs Western Conference Semifinals Game Two: #3 Los Angeles Clippers at #2 Oklahoma City Thunder

2014 NBA Playoffs
Western Conference Semifinals – Game #2

#3 Los Angeles Clippers at #2 Oklahoma City Thunder
Clippers Lead Best of Seven Series 1-0
Chesapeake Energy Arena – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Wednesday, May 7, 2014, 9:35 pm Eastern, TV: TNT
Opening Line: Oklahoma City -5 1/2
Current Line: Oklahoma City -5 1/2
Opening Total: 214 1/2
Current Total: 215
Opening Money Line: Thunder -230 / Clippers +192
Current Money Line: Thunder -230 / Clippers +192 

The Oklahoma City Thunder look to avoid an 0-2 hole against the LA Clippers in game two of the Western Conference Semifinals.
The Oklahoma City Thunder look to avoid an 0-2 hole against the LA Clippers in game two of the Western Conference Semifinals.

Both the Los Angeles Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder survived tough seven game series in the first round of the playoffs. You expected somewhat of an emotional letdown for both teams as they met in game one of the Western Conference semifinals Monday night in Oklahoma City.

However, the Clippers showed no signs of a letdown, as they rolled to a 122-105 win in game one. The Thunder look to tie the series Wednesday night in Oklahoma City in game two.

Oklahoma City took an early 16-10 Monday night. However, the Clippers would close the first quarter on a 29-9 run to take a 39-25 lead. The Clippers would never be threatened again as they stole home court advantage. The Clippers would take a 26 point lead into the fourth quarter. LA sat their starters for the fourth quarter, and Oklahoma City made score seem closer than it was to lose by 17.

Los Angeles shot 54.9% from the field including 15/29 from 3 point range. The Clippers were led by guard Chris Paul, who scored 32 points and added 10 assists. He made his first eight 3 point attempts, before missing his last attempt. Forward Blake Griffin had 23 points with 5 rebounds and 5 assists. Guard Jamal Crawford scored 17 points.

Oklahoma City shot 45.(% from the field. Russell Westbrook scored 29 points with 4 rebounds and 4 assists. The Thunder are 0-4 in the playoffs this season when Westbrook scores over 27 points. Kevin Durant, who was awarded the league MVP yesterday, scored 25 points with 4 rebounds and 4 assists. Serge Ibaka scored 12 points for the Thunder. The problem was no other OKC player had more than 8 points.

Los Angeles is coached by Doc Rivers. The Clippers are 49-40-1 ATS this season and the total is 50-39-1 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 three games.

Oklahoma City is coached by Scott Brooks. OKC is 45-41-3 ATS and the total is 48-41 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 2002. 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.

LA is 6-2 ATS one one day rest, 2-5-1 after a straight up win of 10 points or more, 3-8 against teams with winning records, 3-9 in Wednesday games, 1-4 after a straight up win, in road games, and against teams with winning home records, and 1-5 after a cover. The road team is 5-2 ATS in this series recently. The Clippers are 14-5 ATS in their last 19 trips to Oklahoma City.

OKC is 18-7-1 ATS after a double digit home loss, 3-7-1 overall, 1-3-1 after a straight up loss, 2-6 after the opponent allows 100 points or more in the previous game, and 0-6 in conference semifinal games. The over is 10-3 in this series recently and 6-1 in Oklahoma City.

Oklahoma City wasn’t terrible on offense, but they need to get more scoring from players not named Durant or Westbrook. The big problem was almost a complete lack of effort on defense. Chris Paul completely lit them up despite being hampered by a sore hamstring that he has been battling for the entire playoffs. I think Oklahoma City comes out with more intensity and ties the series. If they don’t they will be down 0-2 with game three in Los Angeles.

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