2014 NBA Playoffs
Western Conference Semifinals – Game #5
#3 Los Angeles Clippers at #2 Oklahoma City Thunder
Best of Seven Series Tied 2-2
Chesapeake Energy Arena – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Tuesday, May 13, 2014, 9:35 pm Eastern, TV: TNT
Opening Line: Oklahoma City -5
Current Line: Oklahoma City -5 1/2
Opening Total: 213
Current Total: 212 1/2
Opening Money Line: Thunder -235 / Clippers +195
Current Money Line: Thunder -240 / Clippers +200
On Sunday, the Oklahoma City Thunder had a 16 point lead in the fourth quarter of game four of the Western Conference semifinal series against the Los Angeles Clippers. The Thunder were 9 minutes away from taking a commanding 3-1 series lead with game five in Oklahoma City. However, the Clippers came back to win 101-99 and tied the series at 2-2. Now, it is a best of 3 series starting Tuesday night.
Los Angeles took game one in Oklahoma City 122-105. The Thunder rebounded in game two 112-101 to tie the series. The series shifted to Los Angeles for game three. Oklahoma City won a hard fought 118-112 game to to regain home court advantage.
In Sunday’s game four Oklahoma City jumped out to a an early 29-7 lead in the first quarter. The Thunder would take a 32-15 lead into the second quarter, but the Clippers trimmed the lead to 11 at halftime. OKC led by 12 points going into the fourth quarter.
League MVP Kevin Durant had been nearly unstoppable for the first three quarters of game four. In the fourth however, LA coach Doc Rivers put Chris Paul on Durant. Even though Durant is almost a foot taller than Paul, the quickness of Paul bothered Durant, who struggled with his shot in the fourth. The Clippers kept chipping away at the lead, and took their first lead with 1:23 left in the game. The Clippers took a 101-97 lead with 32 seconds left. After a Russell Westbrook layup for OKC cut the lead to two points, Blake Griffin missed a layup for LA with 7 seconds left. Westbrook missed a good look at a three. Thunder forward Serge Ibaka tipped in the rebound but it was after the buzzer.
Griffin led the Clippers with 25 points and 9 rebounds. Paul had 23 points, 10 assists, 5 rebounds and 4 steals. Guards Darren Collison and Jamal Crawford each scored 18 points off the bench for the Clippers. Collison made some key baskets down the stretch that helped a lot in the comeback. DeAndre Jordan had 14 rebounds. Durant scored 40 points and grabbed 7 rebounds. Westbrook had 27 points, 8 assists and 6 rebounds. Reggie Jackson was the only other player in double digit scoring for OKC with 10 points.
Los Angeles is coached by Doc Rivers. The Clippers are 49-43-1 ATS this season and the total is 51-41-1 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 six games.
Oklahoma City is coached by Scott Brooks. OKC is 48-41-3 ATS and the total is 49-43 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 2001. 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. Fisher is questionable with a shoulder injury.
Los Angeles is 9-22 ATS in Tuesday games, 2-7 in Conference Semifinals games, 1-4 against Northwest Division teams, 1-5 after a straight up win, against teams with winning records, in road games, overall, against Western Conference teams, after the opponent allows 100 points or more in the previous game, one one day rest, against teams with winning home records and after scoring 100 points in the previous game. The underdog and road team are both 5-1 ATS in the last six games in this series. The Clippers are 14-6 ATS in their last 20 trips to Oklahoma City.
Oklahoma City is 5-1 ATS against teams with winning records, overall, against Western Conference teams, and against Pacific Division teams, 5-1-1 on one day rest, 4-1 after allowing 100 points or more in the previous game and after the opponent scores 100 points or more, 5-2 in Tuesday games, and 11-5-2 at home. The over is 11-5 in this series recently, including 6-2 in Oklahoma City. The Thunder are 4-1 ATS in the last 5 games against the Clippers.
There is no question game four was a devastating loss for Oklahoma City. Still you can look at at two ways. The Thunder dominated for 40 minutes on the road. However, the Clippers now have momentum with the comeback. Oklahoma City must put that loss behind them or they could find themselves down 3-2 in the series. LA has had success in Oklahoma City recently, but I like the Thunder to win at home.