NBA Picks: Spurs at Thunder Game 3 Odds and Betting Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 5/30/2012
How dare I have doubted the San Antonio Spurs in Game 2 of their Western Conference Finals series with the Oklahoma City Thunder! The game wasn’t even as close as San Antonio’s 120-111 victory looked on the scoreboard (at least I took the over). Tony Parker led the way 34 points and eight assists and Manu Ginobili added 20 points as the Spurs won their 20th consecutive game, an NBA record for a streak extended into the playoffs. By the way, no team has ever gone through one postseason unbeaten.
The Spurs are also one victory from tying a record with 11 consecutive wins to start any playoffs and two wins from the second-longest winning streak of all-time (22 by 2007-08 Rockets). The 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers’ NBA-record 33-game winning streak is at least safe until next season.
It’s pretty much win Thursday night back at home for the Thunder or this series probably ends in a sweep. If there’s any positive for OKC to take from Game 2 it was that it trailed by as much as 22 points in the third quarter before trimming the deficit to six in the fourth.
Spurs at Thunder Betting Story Lines
Russell Westbrook had a pretty good night for OKC with 27 points, eight assists and seven rebounds, but Parker was in another world. The Spurs’ star shot an obscene 16-for-21 from the field as San Antonio shot 55.1 percent overall (Spurs were at 63 percent at one point in the third quarter) and was a solid 11-for-26 from long range. Parker is the third guard in the last 25 years to attempt at least 20 shots and make at least 75 percent of those attempts in the playoffs. The Spurs lead the playoffs in overall field goal percentage and three-point percentage.
It has to concern the Thunder that Tim Duncan was just 2-for-11 from the field and the Spurs still were blowing out OKC for much of the game. San Antonio rookie Kawhi Leonard was awesome with 18 points and 10 rebounds to make up for Duncan’s subpar night – Duncan did have four blocks and is three shy of tying Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s playoff record of 476.
Offensively, the Thunder were actually quite good. Kevin Durant had 31 points on 10-for-17 shooting and James Harden bounced back from a mediocre Game 1 with 30 points on 10-for-13 from the field. Durant, Harden and Westbrook became the first set of three teammates all to score more than 25 points in a 48-minute playoff game since 1995. But outside of the Big 3, the rest of the Thunder were 7-for-34 from the field for 23 points (The offensive deficiencies of both Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka are being exposed in this series.) OKC turned the ball over only 10 times and had 10 steals to San Antonio’s three.
Tuesday was the Spurs’ highest-scoring playoff game since 2006. It was just the third time this postseason (all games) that both teams scored at least 100 points. It was the first time that the Spurs allowed triple digits in this year’s playoffs and their streak of nine straight games without allowing 100 points was the longest streak in a single postseason. Oklahoma City allowed 96.9 points in the regular season and 92.8 the first 10 playoff games. The Spurs had 92 by the end of the third quarter.
Spurs at Thunder Betting Odds and Key Trends
OKC opened as a 3.5-point favorite with the total at 206 on NBA odds. The Spurs are 2-2 ATS on the road in these playoffs and 1-3 on the ‘over/under’. The Thunder are 2-3 ATS at home and 4-1 O/U.
The Spurs are 9-3 ATS in their past 12 games as an underdog. The Thunder are 15-3 ATS in their past 18 Thursday games. OKC is just 2-9 ATS in its past 11 home games vs. teams with a winning road record. The under has hit in five of the past six games in San Antonio’s past six after an ATS win. The over is 8-1 in OKC’s past nine games as a favorite. San Antonio is 5-1 ATS in the past six trips to OKC and the over hit in five of those (one push).
NBA Picks: Spurs at Thunder Betting Predictions
How rare is it for the Spurs to be an underdog? In this ridiculous winning streak, San Antonio has been a dog as far as I can tell just once: in its penultimate game of the regular season at Phoenix when it was known that Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker were all going to sit. The Spurs still won.
It will be interesting to see if Thunder Coach Scott Brooks tries the “Hack-a-Splitter” strategy he did in Game 2. During a 54-second span near the end of the third quarter, Oklahoma City intentionally fouled Spurs backup center Tiago Splitter five times away from the ball. Splitter was shooting 32 percent from the line in the playoffs, so the Thunder thought they might be able to rally. But Splitter made 5-of-10 attempts and the Spurs’ lead during the “Hack-a-Splitter” stayed at 16. It did seem to slow the Spurs’ pace for the rest of the game, however.
It’s now or never for the Thunder and they are a very good 15-4 in games after losses this season. Of course, one of those losses came in Game 2. But I think cutting that deficit to six will be a moral victory and something to build on. I think OKC wins by just a bucket, so am taking the Spurs to cover. Definitely the over.
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