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

2014 NBA Playoffs
Western Conference Finals – Game #6

#1 San Antonio Spurs at #2 Oklahoma City Thunder
Spurs Lead Best of Seven Series 3-2
Chesapeake Energy Arena – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Saturday, May 31, 2014, 8:35 pm Eastern, TV: TNT
Opening Line: Oklahoma City -3 1/2
Current Line: Oklahoma City -3 1/2
Opening Total: 206
Current Total: 206 1/2
Opening Money Line: Thunder -165 / Spurs +140
Current Money Line: Thunder -165 / Spurs +140

The Oklahoma City Thunder look to force game seven against the San Antonio Spurs in game six Saturday night in OKC.
The Oklahoma City Thunder look to force game seven against the San Antonio Spurs in game six Saturday night in OKC.

Dating back to game seven of their first round series against the Dallas Mavericks, the San Antonio Spurs have played in 11 straight blowouts including five games against the Portland Trail Blazers and the first five games of the Western Conference Finals against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Game five against Oklahoma City was no exception Thursday night in San Antonio, where the Spurs crushed the Thunder 117-89 to take a 3-2 series lead. The home team has won every game in this series handily.

The series returns to Oklahoma City for game six Saturday night. San Antonio looks to set up a Finals rematch against the Miami Heat who eliminated the Indiana Pacers last night to advance to their fourth straight NBA Finals. The Heat beat the Spurs in a grueling series that went the full seven games. The Thunder look to force game seven against the Spurs Monday night in San Antonio. OKC has won nine straight home games against San Antonio.

San Antonio won game one 122-105 and then crushed Oklahoma City 112-77 in game two. The Thunder played both of those two games without forward Serge Ibaka who injured his calf in the last round against the Los Angeles Clippers. Ibaka was supposed to be out for the rest of the playoffs, but he returned and started both games in Oklahoma City. The Thunder won game three 106-97 but led by 20 with just over 3 minutes to go in the game. OKC tied the series with a 105-92 victory in game four. After Oklahoma City took a 27 point lead midway through the third quarter, San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich conceded the game and removed his starters.

The extra rest worked for the veteran Spurs as they routed the Thunder by 28 points. The consensus was the Spurs had no answer for the Thunder when Ibaka was in the line-up as OKC had won all six games with him playing this season. Popovich adjusted his starting line-up by starting Matt Bonner in place of Tiago Splitter. Although Bonner would finish with zero points and zero rebounds, he forced Ibaka out of the paint where he had been dominant in games three and four. Bonner also forced Ibaka to miss his first five shots on offense. Ibaka would finish with 6 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks and a steal.

Oklahoma City took and early 11-7 lead in the first quarter. However, San Antonio would tie it up at 32 by the end of the first quarter. The Spurs would take a 10 point lead into halftime with a big second quarter. San Antonio extended the lead to 20 by the end of the third, and cruised to the easy win. The Thunder scored only 34 points in the second half.

OKC shot 43% from the field including 6 for 24 from 3 point range. San Antonio had  48 rebounds and OKC had 35. After giving up 21 fast break points in game four, the Spurs held the Thunder to 4 in game six.

Six Spurs scored in double digits led by Tim Duncan who had 22 points and 12 rebounds. Manu Ginobili had 19 points, 6 assists and 4 rebounds. Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green each scored 14 points. Boris Diaw had 13 points off the bench. Tony Parker scored 12 points. Kevin Durant scored 25 points with 5 rebounds in the losing effort for the Thunder. Russell Westbrook had 21 points  with 7 assists, 4 rebounds and 3 steals. Reggie Jackson scored 11 points but no other Thunder player had more than 6 points.

San Antonio is coached by Gregg Popovich, who won his third NBA coach of the year award this season. San Antonio is 53-46 ATS and the total is 53-42-2 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 51-45-3 ATS and the total is 50-48-1 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.  Guard Reggie Jackson averages 10.7 points, 4 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. Jackson rolled his ankle in game four, but played well in game five.  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 7-2 ATS on one day rest, 6-2 after scoring 100 points or more in the previous game, 16-6 after a cover, 8-3 against teams with winning records, overall and against Western Conference teams, 13-5 after a win by double digits, 5-2 after a win and in conference finals games, 7-3 against Northwest Division teams, 1-7 in road games and against teams with winning home records. The under is 4-0 overall in this series and 6-0 in Oklahoma City.

Oklahoma City is 4-1-1 ATS after failing to cover, 18-7-1 in Saturday games, 5-2 after allowing 100 points or more in the previous game, and 13-6-2 at home. The home team and favorite are both 16-5-1 ATS in this series recently. The Thunder are 12-4-1 ATS in the last 17 games against the Spurs, and 10-1 ATS in Oklahoma City against the Spurs.

I don’t understand this series at all. Granted every team feeds off the emotional lift from their home crowds, but these two teams have a lot of playoff experience. They shouldn’t look as bad on the road as they have in this series. One theory is both teams have good role players around their superstars and role players always play better at home. Either way, I think the Thunder win game six to force game seven.

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