NBA Western Conference Finals: Oklahoma City Thunder vs San Antonio Spurs

2012 NBA Playoffs Western Conference Finals Game #1
#2 Oklahoma City Thunder at #1 San Antonio Spurs
Best of Seven Series, Format 2-2-1-1-1
AT&T Center – San Antonio, Texas
Sunday, May 27, 2012, 8:35 pm Eastern, TV: TNT
Series Price: (odds courtesy of bookmaker) SA -205 / OKC +175
Game #1 Opening Line: San Antonio -5
Game #1 Current Line: San Antonio -5 1/2
Game #1 Opening Total: 201
Game #1 Opening Total: 204
Game #1 Opening Money Line: Spurs -240 / Thunder +200
Game #1 Current Money Line: Spurs -250 / Thunder +210

The Spurs are 5.5 point favorites at home against the Thunder in game 1 of the Western Conference Finals.

The San Antonio Spurs, coached by NBA coach of the year Gregg Popovich, have won 18 games in a row, and 29 of their last 31 games. The Spurs haven’t lost since April 11, including the playoffs. The winning streak allowed them to pass Oklahoma City for the #1 seed in the West. In the first round of the playoffs, the Spurs swept the #8 Utah Jazz in the first round, and the #5 Los Angeles Clippers in the conference semifinals.In the clincher last Sunday against the Clippers, the Spurs fought off a valiant effort by LA to avoid the sweep. The Spurs won 102-99 to advance to the Western Conference Finals.

Next up for the Spurs are the #2 seed Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder, coached by Scott Brooks are 7-1 in the playoffs. However, unlike the Spurs, who have had six playoff games decided by double digits, the Thunder have played 6 playoff games decided by 6 points or less. In fact, five were decided by 3 points or less. The Thunder swept the #7 seed and defending NBA champs Dallas Mavericks in the first round, and beat the #3 Los Angeles Lakers in 5 games in the semifinals.

After taking a 2-0 lead by winning both games at home, the Thunder lost game 3 to the Lakers by 3 points. Because the Staples Center was hosting 6 playoff games in a four day span, games 3 and 4 were played back-to-back. Many thought the younger Thunder would be better equipped for the back-to-back. However, the Lakers led for most of the game, until late in the fourth when the Thunder came back to win by three to take a commanding 3-1 series lead. In game 5 in Oklahoma City the game was back and forth with no team up by more than 6 points. The Thunder went on a 14-3 run late in the third to take the lead for good, and scored the first 10 points of the fourth to put the game out of reach. The Thunder cruised to a 106-90 win.

San Antonio beat Oklahoma City in 2 of the 3 times they played this season. The Thunder won the first meeting at home January 8 108-96. San Antonio won 107-96 at home February 4, and in Oklahoma City March 16 114-105. Manu Ginobli did not play in any of those games.

During the playoffs, OKC is out scoring opponents 100-91. The Thunder are shooting 46.5% from the field and 35.4% from 3 point range. Oklahoma City is making 84% of their free throws. The Thunder are averaging 40.1 rebounds a game, with a rebounding margin of -0.8. OKC is averaging 17.1 assists, 10.7 turnovers, 8.8 steals, and 7.8 blocks a game. Thunder opponents are shooting 41.2% from the field and 33.1% from 3 point range.

Thunder forward Kevin Durant is averaging 26.7 points, 8.1 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.1 blocks a game. Point guard Russell Westbrook  is averaging 24.1 points, 4.7 rebounds, 4.4 assists, and 1.9 steals a game. Guard James Harden, who was the NBA’s sixth man of the year, is averaging 17 points, 5 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 2 steals. Serge Ibaka is averaging 9.8 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 3.7 blocks a game in the playoffs. Derek Fisher is averaging 6 points a game. No other Thunder player is averaging more than 3.9 points a game, but Kendrick Perkins, Thabo Sefolosha, and Nick Collison are contributing on defense and rebounds.

The Spurs are outscoring opponents 103-89 during the playoffs. San Antonio is shooting 49.1% from the field and 42.3% from 3 point range. The Spurs are making 73.9% of their free throws. San Antonio is averaging 41.3 rebounds a game with a rebounding margin of -1.2. The Spurs are averaging 24.1 assists, 13.1 turnovers, 7.4 steals, and 5.4 blocks a game. San Antonio opponents are shooting 42.3% from the field, and 33.3% from 3 point range.

Spurs point guard Tony Parker is averaging 19.1 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 7.1 assists a game. Center Tim Duncan is averaging 17.6 points, 9 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 1.9 blocks a game. Ginobli is averaging 11.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, and and 4.5 assists a game. Daniel Green is averaging 10.4 points, and 4 rebounds a game. Kahwi Leonard, Gary Neal, Tiago Splitter, Boris Diaw, and Stephen Jackson all contribute to the scoring as well.

Oklahoma City is 5-3-1 ATS in the playoffs, and the total is 7-2. San Antonio is 6-2 ATS and the total is 2-6 this post-season. The Spurs are 7-2 ATS in the last 9 against the Thunder, and 11-4-1 at home against OKC. The last 4 games have gone over the total, and the over is 5-2 in San Antonio.

The Thunder are 4-0 ATS on 3 or more days rest, 3-0-1 in road games, as a playoff underdog, and in road games against teams with winning home records, 5-1-1 against teams with winning records, overall, and against Western Conference teams, 4-1 in Sunday games, 4-1-1 after a straight up win, 22-7 as an underdog of 5-10.5 points, including 21-7 on the road, 1-3-1 as an underdog, and 2-10 against Southwest division teams.

The Spurs are 4-0 ATS as a home favorite of 5-10.5 points, 22-4-1 as a home favorite, 20-4-3 after scoring 100 points, 8-2-1 as a favorite of 5-10.5 points, 4-1 against Northwest Division teams, 39-11-4 overall, 16-5-2 after failing to cover, 3-1-1 in Sunday games, 6-2-1 as a playoff favorite, 35-12-4 as a favorite, 25-9-2 against teams with winning records, 34-13-4 after a straight up win, 15-6-2 as a playoff favorite of 5-10.5 points, 5-2 at home against teams with winning road records, 14-6 in Conference final games, and 33-16-2 against Western Conference teams.

These two teams are almost mirror images of each other. They are both built around a trio of stars, but have plenty of depth. The Spurs are deeper though. Both play similar styles in that they love to run. San Antonio has been dominant against Oklahoma City recently winning 8 of the last 10 meetings. For the young Thunder to change that trend, they must defend the 3 point shot better. The Spurs shot 52% from 3 point range in the 3 games against the Thunder this season. Oklahoma City’s stars are all 23 or younger, while San Antonio’s trio are all in their 30’s. The Thunder will win an NBA title in the near future. Just not this year. The Spurs win in six hard fought games.

Our NBA handicappers are crushing the sports books during the playoffs. Don’t miss out on any more winners from now until the Finals in June.


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