Game 1 - Clippers at Thunder
May 5, 2014
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L.A. Clipper (61-28) at Oklahoma City (63-26)
Western Conference Second Round
Tip-off: Monday, 9:35 p.m. ET
Sportsbook.ag Line and Total: Oklahoma City -5 & 213
After both the Clippers and Thunder were taken to seven games in the first round of the postseason, they continue their quest to the NBA Finals when they open their series on Monday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Los Angeles barely got by Golden State in the opening round of the playoffs, prevailing 126-121 as a seven-point favorite in Saturday's Game 7. In the series, the Clippers averaged 110.9 PPG (47% FG) after putting together a regular season where they led the league in the category with 107.9 PPG. While they were able to win the series and advance, they were just 2-5 ATS against the Warriors and shot below 43% from the field three different times, all of which were games they lost. Oklahoma City was nearly knocked out of the playoffs for the second consecutive season by Memphis, but overcame a 3-2 series deficit by dominating the final two games. The Thunder won those final two contests by an average of 15.5 PPG while easily covering the spread in each as well. Overall in the first round, they were 3-3-1 ATS and scored a very impressive 102.1 PPG (44% FG) against a stingy Grizzlies defense.
Home-court advantage could be huge in the second round as Oklahoma City is an impressive 36-9 SU (25-19-1 ATS) when playing in front of their fans compared to Los Angeles going 24-20 SU with a 25-18-1 ATS record on the road. These two teams squared off four times during the regular season with each team winning two games SU and ATS. Their most recent meeting came late in the season as the Thunder defeated the Clippers on the road by a score of 107-101 as 3.5-point underdogs with each team shooting worse than 43% from the field.
Going back three seasons, this series has been nearly a split with Oklahoma City holding a slight 6-5 edge (both SU and ATS) with the Over going 8-3. Los Angeles has been amazing at revenging a SU loss as a favorite this season, going 15-3 ATS (83%) in those situations. Meanwhile, the Thunder are 31-16 ATS (66%) over the past two seasons after allowing 105+ points in a game. The only injury for either team that could have an effect on this game is that of SF Hedo Turkoglu (back), who is doubtful for Monday’s contest.
Although Los Angeles allowed 106.4 PPG on 46.0% FG (36.4% threes) versus the Warriors, the club also forced 17.3 TOPG in the series with 10.1 SPG and 5.1 BPG. As mentioned previously, the Clippers have continued their extraordinary offensive prowess in the postseason (110.9 PPG on 47.0% FG and 36.2% threes) and have used unselfish passing (23.7 APG, 14.3 TOPG) and a balanced attack to achieve this. PG Chris Paul (17.4 PPG, 9.0 APG, 4.7 RPG, 3.1 SPG in playoffs) stepped it up in Game 7 against the Warriors, scoring 22 points to go along with 14 assists and four steals. He had at least one steal in each game of the first round, including 4+ takeaways in four of the seven games.
Paul also had a tremendous regular-season series with Oklahoma City, scoring 18.5 PPG with 12.0 APG, 6.3 RPG and 1.3 SPG. PF Blake Griffin (23.3 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 3.6 APG, 1.6 SPG in playoffs) also flourished in all facets versus the Thunder this season with 24.8 PPG, 10.3 RPG, 4.8 APG and 1.3 SPG. He had a great all-around game Saturday to finish off Golden State with 24 points, six assists, five rebounds, three steals and three blocks. Griffin did have issues with fouls in the final three contests though, averaging 5.3 fouls in those games, and he cannot afford to be in foul trouble versus a skilled Thunder frontcourt.
C DeAndre Jordan (12.1 PPG, 15.1 RPG, 4.0 BPG in playoffs) had his way on the boards in the first round, grabbing 18+ rebounds in four of the final five games of the series. He also had at least two rejections in each game with 5+ blocks in Games 5, 6 and 7. Jordan chipped in a double-double (11.8 PPG, 11.3 RPG) with 1.8 BPG versus Oklahoma City this season. SG Jamal Crawford (16.7 PPG, 38% threes in playoffs) destroyed the Thunder this season with 24.7 PPG on 55% FG and 46% threes over three meetings. He also made some huge shots against the Warriors and ended the series with a bang, netting 21.5 PPG over the final four contests; including 22 in Saturday's clincher. SG J.J. Redick (14.3 PPG, 39% threes in playoffs) scored 20 points in Game 7, marking his second 20-point performance of the playoffs, but he shot horribly versus Oklahoma City this season at 29% FG and 22% threes leading to a pedestrian 9.0 PPG average in his three meetings.
The Thunder narrowly avoided a big upset for the second straight season to the Grizzlies after shooting 60.9% FG (57.9% threes) in Game 7, which was quite a jump from their 41.1% FG clip (29.2% threes) in the first six games. Oklahoma City did not pass the ball enough during the series (18.6 APG) and also committed 15.6 TOPG, including 17.8 TOPG in the final four contests. The club defended well for the majority of the seven games though, limiting Memphis to 96.7 PPG on 41.7% FG and 29.0% threes. SF Kevin Durant (29.9 PPG, 9.6 RPG, 3.4 APG, 1.6 BPG in playoffs) was the top scorer in the league during the regular season and had five 30-point performances in the first round. He was extremely efficient over the final two games, going 23-for-41 from the floor (56%) while hitting all five of his threes in Game 7. He lit up L.A. for 32.5 PPG with 8.0 APG, 4.5 RPG and 1.8 SPG in four meetings this season. PG Russell Westbrook (25.6 PPG, 9.7 RPG, 8.0 APG, 1.6 SPG in playoffs) had two triple-doubles in the first round including 27 points, 16 assists, 10 rebounds and two steals in Saturday’s big victory. While his numbers were great for the series, he shot just 38% from the field and 24% from behind the arc. He also shot poorly versus the Clippers this season at 40% FG and 24% threes, but still averaged a well-rounded 18.5 PPG, 6.8 APG, 6.5 RPG and 1.5 SPG.
PF Serge Ibaka (13.0 PPG, 8.9 RPG, 2.6 BPG in playoffs) went without a block in three of the seven games in the first round, but averaged 4.5 BPG in the other four. He did not shoot worse than 50% in any of the seven first-round games and shot 60% from the field over the entire series. He was even more accurate versus L.A. this season at 66% FG leading to 16.3 PPG, 5.0 RPG and 2.3 BPG. PG Reggie Jackson (12.1 PPG, 4.9 RPG in playoffs) averaged 17.5 PPG over his past four games, which included him going for 32 points on 11-for-16 shooting in their Game 4 victory. Against the Clippers this season, Jackson shot better from three-point range (36%) than inside the arc (35%), averaging a modest 8.5 PPG, 3.5 RPG and 3.3 APG for the season series.
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