The Oklahoma City Thunder head into Game 2 against the Los Angeles Clippers tonight, Wednesday May 7th, down 1-0 but on the friendly confines of home court at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Home court had no advantage for the Thunder in Game 1 after the Clippers pounded them to the tune of 122-105. Hopefully Kevin Durant will get a boost after he finally won his first MVP award, on Tuesday afternoon. Oddsmakers have the Thunder as -5.5 point home favorites against the Clippers with the total currently listed at 214.5 points. The pressure is on Durant to live up to the billing now. Be sure to check NBA Playoff Spreads for all games on tap.
The Clippers (5-3, 2-2 V) walked into Oklahoma City and slapped the Thunder around to the tune of a 122-105 Game 1 drubbing. Russell Westbrook scored a team-high 29 points, while Kevin Durant added 25 for the Thunder. Serge Ibaka was the only other OKC player in double figures with 12. Thabo Sefolosha returned to the starting lineup for the Thunder after sitting out the last two games of the Grizzlies series. He only managed five points.
The majority of the Thunder’s game plan for a better result in Wednesday’s Game 2 revolves around its work on the defensive end. Effort, energy, physicality and intensity are all a part of it, but also executing on the tactical parts of the game to prevent the Clippers from getting easy shots. In Game 1, the Clippers shot 15-for-29 from the three-point line, so it will be imperative that Brooks’ club gets out to the perimeter with strong closeouts in order to force the Clippers into contested shots.
The Thunder (4-4, 2-3 H) Chris Paul was beyond brilliant. The All-Star point guard finished with 32 points and 10 assists, while shooting 12-for-14 from the field and 8-for-9 from 3-point range. Paul had 17 points in an opening quarter that saw LA build a huge lead that the Thunder couldn’t rebound from. Blake Griffin complemented Paul with 23 points, while Jamal Crawford donated 17 points off the bench in the blowout. J.J. Redick added 12 points and Matt Barnes chipped in 15.
Oklahoma City needs to get more of the offense involved. Durant wasn’t spectacular in Game 1 but he was pretty good, as was Russell Westbrook. But they need to get Serge Ibaka the ball in scoring situations more and need to go with the Westbrook-Reggie Jackson combo guard set earlier. Why focus on offense instead of defense where they got torched? Because a better offensive performance is going to help them get set and find Paul quicker in transition.
They need to get scores to help their defense, which will help them run, which will help them score, which will help their defense. It’s a circle of life, only with Derek Fisher for some reason.
Recent Betting Trends to Consider:
Over is 6-1 in the last 7 meetings in Oklahoma City.
Over is 10-3 in the last 13 meetings.
Clippers are 14-5 ATS in the last 19 meetings in Oklahoma City.
Road team is 5-2 ATS in the last 7 meetings.
Clippers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 road games.
Clippers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
Clippers are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games following a ATS win.
Thunder are 0-6 ATS in their last 6 Conference Semifinals games.
L.A. Clippers at Oklahoma City
When: Wednesday May 7@9:30 PM ET
Pick: Thunder -5.5
The Bottom Line: If the Thunder can get high quality shots on offense and limit turnovers, they should cover. We recommend you sign up with Bovada to receive a 10% sign up bonus heading into the L.A. Clippers vs Oklahoma City game.