2014 NBA Playoffs
Western Conference Finals – Game #3
#1 San Antonio Spurs at #2 Oklahoma City Thunder
Spurs Lead Best of Seven Series 2-0
Chesapeake Energy Arena – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Sunday, May 25, 2014, 8:35 pm Eastern, TV: TNT
Opening Line: Oklahoma City -2 1/2
Current Line: Oklahoma City -2 1/2
Opening Total: 208
Current Total: 208
Opening Money Line: Thunder -130 / Spurs +110
Current Money Line: Thunder -140 / Spurs +120
Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka strained his calf in the Thunder’s series clinching win in game six against the Los Angeles Clippers in the Western Conference semifinals. He was supposed to be out for the playoffs, and missed the first two games of the Thunder’s series against the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Finals. OKC certainly missed Ibaka as he is their top rim protector, shot blocker, and one of the team’s best defenders. San Antonio took advantage and won both games at home by a combined 52 points.
The Thunder got some good news as they return home for game three Sunday night. The swelling went down in Ibaka’s leg and barring a set back he is listed as probable for game three after working out. The main issue is how much pain Ibaka can deal with, as the leg is still sore.
The Spurs won game one 122-105 by pulling away late in the third quarter. The Spurs then crushed the Thunder 112-77 in game two Wednesday night. Now, San Antonio looks to take a commanding 3-0 series lead and put Oklahoma City on the brink of elimination. OKC looks for a repeat of the last time these two teams met in the playoffs, as the Thunder lost the first two games on the road in the 2012 Western Conference Finals. The Thunder would then win 4 straight games to take the series.
In game two, Oklahoma City had a three point lead midway through the second quarter. However, San Antonio closed the second on a 25-8 run to take a 58-44 lead into halftime. It would only get worse in the third quarter as the Spurs out scored the Thunder 33-18 to lead by 29 going into the fourth. San Antonio would end up winning by 35.
The Thunder shot 39.3% from the field including 2/20 from 3 point range. They also only made 5 of 10 free throws. The Thunder gave up 54 points in the paint after giving up 66 in game one. San Antonio simply dominated every phase of the game.
Tony Parker led the Spurs with 22 points, 5 assists, 2 rebounds and 2 steals. Danny Green scored 21 points with 3 steals and 3 rebounds. Tim Duncan added 14 points and 12 rebounds. Manu Ginobili and Boris Diaw each added 11 points off the bench. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook each scored 15 points for OKC, but the duo shot a combined 13/40 from the field. Jeremy Lamb added 13 points off the bench but no other Thunder player scored more than 9 points. The other three Thunder starters other than Durant and Westbrook (Nick Collison, Kendrick Perkins, and Thabo Sefolosha have combined for 9 points total in the first two games of the series.
San Antonio is coached by Gregg Popovich, who won his third NBA coach of the year award this season. San Antonio is 52-44 ATS and the total is 53-40-1 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 49-44-3 ATS and the total is 50-46 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 4-0 ATS in conference finals games, 7-1 against teams with winning records, overall and against Western Conference teams, 6-1 against Northwest Division teams and after scoring 100 points or more in the previous game, 5-1 after a straight up win and a win by 10 points or more, 4-1 after the opponent allows 100 points or more in the previous game, 1-5 in road games and against teams with winning home records. The under is 7-3 in this series recently, including 4-0 in Oklahoma City.
Oklahoma City is 3-1-1 ATS after failing to cover, 2-5-1 after a straight up loss and against Southwest Division teams, and 1-4 on 3 or more days rest. The favorite and home team are both 8-2-1 in this series recently. The Thunder are 10-3-1 ATS in the last 14 games against the Spurs, including 7-0 in OKC.
The Thunder not only missed Ibaka’s defense and rebounding, but he is also the third scoring option after Durant and Westbrook. San Antonio has completely dominated this series, and Okalhoma City faces a must win tonight or this series is almost certainly over. I expect a huge game from the MVP Durant and Westbrook too. I think the Thunder win at home to get back in the series.