NBA Western Conference Finals Game Four: San Antonio Spurs at Oklahoma City Thunder

2014 NBA Playoffs
Western Conference Finals – Game #4

#1 San Antonio Spurs at #2 Oklahoma City Thunder
Spurs Lead Best of Seven Series 2-1
Chesapeake Energy Arena – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Tuesday, May 25, 2014, 9:05 pm Eastern, TV: TNT
Opening Line: Oklahoma City -3
Current Line: Oklahoma City -2 1/2
Opening Total: 207 1/2
Current Total: 207
Opening Money Line: Thunder -145 / Spurs +125
Current Money Line: Thunder -145 / Spurs +125

The Thunder look to even up the Western Conference Finals with a win Tuesday night against the Spurs.
The Thunder look to even up the Western Conference Finals with a win Tuesday night against the Spurs.

The Oklahoma City Thunder lost the first two games of the Western Conference Finals by a combined 52 points in San Antonio against the Spurs. The Thunder played those two games without forward Serge Ibaka who injured his calf in the clinching game in the Thunder’s last playoff series against the Los Angeles Clippers. Ibaka was supposed to be out for the playoffs but returned Sunday night for game three. Ibaka’s return and the emotional burst they got from the loud OKC crowd were just what the Thunder needed to get back in the series. Oklahoma City cruised to a 106-97 win in game three that wasn’t as close as the final score indicated. The Thunder look to even up the series in game four Tuesday night before the team’s head back to San Antonio for game five Thursday night.

Thunder coach Scott Brooks not only started Ibaka but also started guard Reggie Jackson in place of Thabo Sefolosha. In the first two games, the other OKC starters besides Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook combined for 9 total points. Oklahoma City started Kendrick Perkins, Thabo Sefolosha and Nick Collison in place of Ibaka for the first two games. Neither Collison or Sefolosha played in game three. The difference was apparent immediately as Ibaka hit his first four shots in the first quarter. San Antonio would take a 29-28 lead at the end of the first though, despite OKC shooting 63% from the field in the quarter.

In the second, OKC would  take a 57-53 lead into halftime. The Spurs forced 12 turnovers and dominated on the offensive glass to keep it close at halftime. The Thunder would expand the lead to 83-76 by the end of the third quarter. Oklahoma City led by 20 with 3:17 left in the game but then began to remove their starters. The Spurs would add some cosmetic points late in the game to make the final margin only 9 points.

The Spurs shot just 40% for the game after shooting over 50% in the first two games. OKC had 46 points in the paint to San Antonio’s 40 after the Spurs had scored 120 combined in the first two games. The Thunder also made 26 of 31 free throws while the Spurs made 15 of 16. The Thunder has 52 rebounds to 36 for the Spurs.

Westbrook led the Thunder with 26 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists, and 3 steals. Durant had 25 points, 10 rebounds, and 3 assists. Ibaka had 15 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists. He left to thunderous applause when Brooks took him out of the game late in the fourth. Jackson had 15 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds.  Manu Ginobili led the Spurs with 23 points, including 6 3 pointers. He only scored 3 points in the second half though. He limped off the court in the fourth quarter with a leg injury but he will play in game four. Tim Duncan scored 16 points and had 8 rebounds. Kawhi Leonard had 10 points. Tony Parker scored only 9 points for San Antonio.

San Antonio is coached by Gregg Popovich, who won his third NBA coach of the year award this season. San Antonio is 52-45 ATS and the total is 53-41-1 this season.

San Antonio is outscoring teams 106-99 in the playoffs. The Spurs are shooting 49.3% from the field and 38.8% from 3 point range. San Antonio makes 74.7% from the line. Opponents are shooting 43.7% from the field and 35.4% from 3 point range. San Antonio is averaging 42.6 rebounds per game and opponents average 42.9 per game. The Spurs average 20.6 assists, 11.9 turnovers, 8.3 steals and 3.5 blocks per game. Opponents average 18 assists, 13.4 turnovers, 5.6 steals and 3.3 blocks per game.

Point guard Tony Parker averages 19.3 points, 4.9 assists, and 2.5 rebounds per game. Parker is probable with a hamstring injury. Forward Tim Duncan averages 15.8 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 1.7 blocks per game. Forward Kawhi Leonard averages 14 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.1 assists, and 1.8 steals per game. Guard Manu Ginobili averages 13.9 points, 3.7 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 1.8 steal per game. Marco Belinelli, Patty Mills, Boris Diaw, Danny Green, Tiago Splitter, Cory Joseph, Jeff Ayres, and Matt Bonner will also get significant minutes.

Oklahoma City is coached by Scott Brooks. OKC is 50-44-3 ATS and the total is 50-47 this season.

Oklahoma City is outscoring teams 105-101 in the playoffs. The Thunder are shooting 45.3% from the field and 33.2% from 3 point range. Oklahoma City is making 83.5% from the free throw line. Opponents are shooting 43.3% from the field and 33.2% from 3 point range. Oklahoma City averages 46.9 rebounds per game and opponents average 40.7 per game. OKC averages 19.4 assists, 15.5 turnovers, 5.9 steals and 6.4 blocks per game. Opponents average 22.8 assists, 10.9 turnovers, 8.8 steals and 2.9 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 31.4 points, 9.5 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.4 blocks per game. Point guard Russell Westbrook averages 26.6 points, 8 rebounds, 8.4 assists and 1.7 steals per game. No player has averaged 25 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists for the playoffs since Oscar Robertson. Forward Serge Ibaka averages 12.2 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1 assist and 2.7 blocks per game. He strained his calf in game six against the Clippers and is out for the rest of the playoffs.  Guard Reggie Jackson averages 10.7 points, 4 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. Forward Caron Butler, acquired at the trade deadline from the Milwaukee Bucks, averages 6.5 points, 3.2 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.

San Antonio is 6-1 ATS on one day rest, 4-1 in Tuesday games, in conference finals games, and after the opponent scores 100 points or more in the previous game, 7-2 against teams with winning records, overall and against Western Conference teams, 6-2 against Northwest Division teams, 3-7 after allowing 100 points or more in the previous game, 2-7 after failing to cover, 1-6 in road games and against teams with winning home records. The under is 8-3 in this series recently, including 5-0 in Oklahoma City.

Oklahoma City is 4-1 ATS after the opponent allows 100 points or more and 5-2 in conference finals games. The favorite and home team are both 12-3-1 ATS in this series recently. The Thunder are 11-3-1 ATS in the last 15 against the Spurs, including 8-0 in OKC.

Oklahoma city got an emotional lift from Ibaka but it really means nothing if they don’t win tonight, as they will be down 3-1 in the series with a loss. San Antonio has lost 9 straight games in Oklahoma City. I think Tony Parker will play much better than he did in game three. Still, I I think the Thunder win a close game to tie up the series.

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