NBA Playoff Picks: Lakers at Thunder Game 2 Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 5/15/2012
Certainly the most stunning result of these NBA Playoffs so far had to be Monday night’s Oklahoma City 119-90 destruction of the visiting Los Angeles Lakers. That the Thunder won was no shock at all. The young, energetic club had been off more than a week and was pretty healthy. The veteran Lakers, meanwhile, had just played in a Game 7 two days’ prior and clearly were worn down and a little beaten up.
But a 29-point blowout that was the worst loss of the season for L.A.?
Maybe the Lakers just don’t belong on the same court as OKC. After all, the Thunder handled the Lakers pretty easily in their first two regular-season meetings. L.A.’s lone win came in overtime in the second-to-last game of the season and the Thunder were thrown off in that one by Metta World Peace’s elbow to the head of Sixth Man of the Year James Harden. L.A. was still down by 18 points in the second half of that game before rallying.
OKC is now -900 on the Sportsbook.com series line with L.A. at +600. The Lakers are down to +1000 to win the West after Game 1, with the Thunder up to +110 (second behind Spurs).
Lakers at Thunder Betting Story Lines
Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant didn't play in the fourth quarter but led all scorers with 27 and 25 points, respectively, in Game 1. Westbrook (10-for-15 shooting) was tremendous with nine assists, seven rebounds and only one turnover. He was frequently guarded by Kobe Bryant, who simply isn’t quick enough these days to guard super-athletic point guards like Westbrook, Ty Lawson or Chris Paul. Durant pulled down eight rebounds and handed out four assists. Harden added 17 points. Those three were the only OKC players in double figures but 11 of the 12 players who suited up scored for Oklahoma City.
The Thunder shot 53 percent from the field, committed only four turnovers (a franchise record low, compared to 15 for the Lakers), had 13 steals and were 24-of-29 from the line. Oklahoma City’s reserves outscored L.A.’s bench, 53-26. The Thunder outscored the Lakers 20-0 in transition during Game 1, including 13-0 in the third quarter when they shot 70.6 percent and led by as much as 35 points.
The Thunder's 119 points were the most by any team this postseason and marked their 29th double-digit win this season. It also improved OKC to 17-1 this season when Westbrook has two turnovers or less.
Kobe and Andrew Bynum each led L.A. with 20 points but they were a combined -51. By comparison, Durant and Westbrook were a combined +54 when on the court. The Lakers are 6-13 this season when they are held to 90 points or less and they have allowed 116.0 points per game in their last two road losses. The Lakers are now minus-32 in point differential in these playoffs and, for the third time, lost a game by 15 or more points.
It was the fifth-worst Game 1 loss in franchise history for L.A. But long-time Lakers fans will no doubt remember the 1985 NBA Finals when the Lakers lost Game 1, 148-114, at Boston in what was called the Memorial Day Massacre. L.A. then won Game 2 and the series in six games.
About the only bad news for the Thunder in Game 1 was that center Kendrick Perkins, a key for their defense, aggravated a hip strain originally suffered May 5 at Dallas. Perkins left for the locker room after it happened Monday and did return to the bench but there was no need to insert him with the game not in doubt. He’s likely to again be listed as day-to-day and a game-time decision for Game 2 Wednesday. Nazr Mohammed played well in Perkins’ place on Monday with seven points, four rebounds and two blocks in 22 minutes. He played a total of only 16 minutes– not at all in two games – in the sweep of the Mavericks.
Lakers at Thunder Betting Odds and Key Trends
NBA odds opened Oklahoma City as a 7.5-point betting favorite with the total at 195.5. That’s the same spread as Game 1 but the total is three points higher. The Lakers were 12-21 ATS on road this season and 19-13-1 on the ‘over/under’. In playoffs, L.A. is 1-3 ATS on road and 2-2 O/U. Thunder were 17-16 ATS at home during year and 17-16 on O/U. For the playoffs those numbers at home are 1-2 ATS and 3-0 O/U.
The Lakers are 5-0 ATS in their past five Wednesday games. L.A. is 5-0 ATS in their past five games after a double-digit loss. The Thunder are 3-7 ATS in OKC’s past 10 games after scoring triple-digits in the previous game. The over is 8-2 in the Lakers’ past 10 games on just one days’ rest. The over is 5-1 in OKC’s past six games after an ATS win. The Lakers are 2-6 ATS in the past eight meetings at Oklahoma City.
NBA Playoff Picks: Lakers at Thunder Betting Predictions
First off, the Thunder aren’t going to turn the ball over only four times again. They were the sloppiest team in the league during the regular season, committing a league-high 16.3 turnovers per game. Their previous low for a game was 10. And secondly, if Perkins has to sit or is limited, Bynum and Pau Gasol could dominate down low.
Meanwhile, the Lakers have proven they can bounce back after an embarrassing loss as they were blown out in Game 6 at Denver in the last series before winning Game 7 back in L.A. The Lakers better win this game because while the next two are at Staples Center, Games 3 and 4 are back-to-back on Friday and Saturday. That heavily favors the younger Thunder. I’m not predicting an L.A. win here, but I do expect a much better effort and a cover. Also take the over.
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