Tied 2-2, Spurs and Thunder Return to San Antonio for Pivotal Game 5

2012 NBA Playoffs Western Conference Finals Game #5
#2 Oklahoma City Thunder at #1 San Antonio Spurs
Best of Seven Series Tied 2-2
AT&T Center – San Antonio, Texas
Monday, June 4, 2012, 9:05 pm Eastern, TV: TNT
Opening Line: San Antonio -4 1/2
Current Line: San Antonio -5
Opening Total: 202 1/2
Current Total: 202
Opening Money Line: Spurs -230 / Thunder +190
Current Money Line: Spurs -240 / Thunder +200

Tony Parker and the Spurs return home for game 5 of the Western Conference Finals againstt eh Oklahoma City Thunder, with the series tied 2-2. The Spurs are 5 point favorites.

Before last Thursday’s game 3 , many thought the Oklahoma City Thunder, coached by Scott Brooks were dead and buried in their Western Conference¬† series against the San Antonio Spurs, coached by Gregg Popovich. The Spurs had won 20 straight games since a home loss to the Lakers on April 11. San Antonio had swept the Utah Jazz and the Los Angeles Clippers, and won the first two games against Oklahoma City 101-98 in game 1, and 120-111 in game 2. Then the series switched north to Oklahoma City. The Thunder got back into the series with a 102-82 rout in game 3, and tied the series up Saturday night with a 109-103 win in game 4.

Now it is a best of 3 series for the right to play for an NBA Championship. For both teams the situation hasn’t really changed. The Spurs still have home court, and the Thunder still have to win at least once in San Antonio.

In game 4, Saturday night the Thunder had a 15 point lead in the second half. however, the Spurs went on a run and reduced the lead down to 4 at the end of the third. The game was back and forth for the first half of the fourth quarter before Thunder forward Kevin Durant scored 16 straight points for the Thunder. He ended up with 36 points, 6 rebounds, 8 assists, and a block. Durant was 13-20 shooting and made all 9 of his free throw attempts. The Thunder fed off the energy of their crowd to hold off the Spurs in the 109-103 win.

As a team Oklahoma City shot 56.4% from the field including 5-13 from 3 point range. The Thunder made 16 of 21 free throws. OKC had 41 rebounds, 27 assists, and 12 turnovers. OKC had 9 fast break points and 48 points in the paint.

The assists and turnovers have been the main difference between the first 2 games and games 3 and 4. In the regular season, the Thunder led the league in turnovers and were last in assists. However, they have reversed that so far in this series. The Thunder realized they couldn’t beat San Antonio with their normal run and gun style, and had to rely more on passing. It worked out well at home, and now they must do the same on the road.

Besides the huge night from Durant, the Thunder relied on a perfect shooting night from forward Serge Ibaka. Ibaka made all 11 of his field goals and all 4 of free throws. He had 26 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 blocks. Center Kendrick Perkins had 15 points and 9 rebounds. He made 7 of 9 field goals and 1 of 2 free throws. James Harden had 11 points on 4 of 13 shooting. He also added 7 rebounds and 7 assists. Nick Collison was 4-5 shooting and had 8 points off the bench. Russell Westbrook scored only 7 points on 2 for 10 shooting. Both made shots were 3 pointers, and he was only 1-4 from the free throw line. He also had 4 rebounds, 5 assists, and a steal at the end of the game, that basically sealed the win for the Thunder. Westbrook has struggled to score in this series averaging 15.3 points a game, on 38.5% shooting. Guard Thabo Sefolosha had 6 points and 6 rebounds. He had a huge scoring game in game 3 with 19 points, but more importantly in both games he has guarded Tony Parker and kept him in check defensively.

The Spurs shot 50% as a team, including 11-23 from 3 point range. San Antonio made 10 of 16 free throws. The Spurs had 31 rebounds, 17 assists, and 10 turnovers. San Antonio had 3 fast break points and 52 points in the paint.

Tim Duncan had 21 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, and a block. He was 9-17 shooting from the field and 3-7 on free throws. Forward Kawhi Leonard had 17 points and 9 rebounds. He was 7-8 from the field, and 3-4 from 3 point range. He made two 3 pointers in the last minute that gave San Antonio at least a chance to pull off the comeback. (And gave hope to Spurs bettors who took the 3.5 points.) Manu Ginobli had 13 points, 4 assists, and a steal on 4-7 shooting. He did have 6 of the Spurs’ 10 turnovers though. Parker had 12 points on 5-15 shooting. Forward Boris Diaw also had 12 points, and added 7 rebounds. Stephen Jackson added 11 points off the bench.

Oklahoma City is 8-4-1 ATS in the playoffs, and the total is 9-4. San Antonio is 7-5 ATS and the total is 4-8 this post-season. The Spurs are 8-5 ATS in the last 13 games between the teams. The Spurs are 12-5-1 in the last 18 at home against the Thunder. Six of the last eight meetings have gone over the total.

The Thunder are 4-0 ATS after scoring 100 points or more, 3-0-1 after a straight up win, 5-1-1 against teams with winning records, overall, and against Western Conference teams, 5-1 against Southwest Division teams, 4-1-1 in road games, as an underdog, and in road games against teams with winning home records, 4-1 in Conference Final games, and as a playoff underdog of 5-10.5 points, 20-6 as a road underdog of 5-10.5 points, 3-1-1 on one day rest, 5-2 after a cover, and and 2-5 after allowing 100 points or more.

The Spurs are 14-3-1 ATS after failing to cover, 23-5-1 as a home favorite, 8-2 after a straight up loss, 8-2-1 as a home favorite of 5-10.5 points or less, 18-5-3 after scoring 100 points or more, 21-6-1 on one day rest, 6-2 in Monday games, 36-12-4 as a favorite, 40-14-4 overall, 8-3-1 as a favorite of 5-10.5 points, 14-6-2 after allowing 100 points or more, 7-3-1 as a playoff favorite, 21-10-2 at home against teams with winning road records, 33-16-2 against Western conference teams, 3-7-1 as a playoff favorite of 5-10.5 points, 1-4 against teams with winning records, against Northwest teams, and 1-5 in conference finals.

The Thunder played with much more confidence at home, but now must take the same energy on the road. The young Thunder are learning on the fly and adapting to what the Spurs are doing. However, the Spurs are a veteran team and should bounce back at home. The Spurs win a close game in front of their home crowd.

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