L.A. Lakers (57-25 SU 34-46-2 ATS) vs. Oklahoma City Thunder 50-32 SU 48-34 ATS) 9:30 PM EST Thursday April 22, 2010 on TNT
by Jason Green at Predictem.com
Point Spread: Lakers +3.5 / Thunder -3.5
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The Lakers lead this best of 7 series 2-0.
Tonight the Oklahoma City Thunder host the L.A. Lakers in a, pretty much, must win game for the Thunder after being down 2-0 in this Western Conference playoff series. The Lakers were smoked in their last visit to Oklahoma City only scoring 75 points and they are the underdog tonight. In Game 2 of this series the Thunder were in the lead at halftime, but turnovers in the 2nd half killed them, as the Lakers won by 3 points.
This season Oklahoma City is 27-14 at home and L.A. is 23-18 on the road.
In Game 2 the Lakers did not shoot the rock well, but played solid D in the 2nd half and won 95-92.
Kevin Durant did score 32 points and grab 8 boards for the Thunder in Game 2, but he committed 8 turnovers and he has to hold onto the rock tonight.
Even though the Lakers only shot just over 37% from the field the Thunder did not contain Kobe Bryant or Pau Gasol, as this duo combined for 64 points on a combined 20/42 shooting. The other Lakers need to help these 2 out tonight, as in game 2 the 3 other L.A. starters only combined for 16 points on 7/29 shooting.
The Thunder do not have a strong inside presence, but they have to hit the boards better in this game after getting out-rebounded by 12 in Game 2. Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum combined for 22 rebounds and overall the Lakers had 19 offensive boards.
Jeff Green needs to play better tonight than he did in Game 2 when he scored 12 points on only 2/11 shooting.
Ron Artest played good defense on Durant in the 2nd half and if he can do that for the whole game the Lakers will be in good shape.
In Game 2 the high scorer for Oklahoma City was Kevin Durant going for 32 points on 12/26 shooting and for L.A. it was Kobe going for 39 points on 12/28 shooting. For the game neither team shot the rock well, as the Lakers were 33/88 from the floor for a FG% of 37.5% and the Thunder were 29/74 for a FG% of 39.2%. The Lakers had 12 more rebounds in the game and the both teams were a little sloppy with the pill with the Thunder committing 17 turnovers and the Lakers had 16 turnovers.
This season the Lakers ranked 12th in the league in scoring (101.7 ppg) and the Thunder ranked 14th (101.5 ppg). On defense the Lakers ranked 9th in the league in opponents’ points allowed (97 ppg) and the Thunder ranked 11th (98 ppg). Both teams were pretty even on the boards this season, as the Thunder had a rebounding differential of +2.8 rpg and the Lakers were at +2.1 rpg.
According to the Sagarin NBA ratings the Lakers rank 3rd (95.29) and the Thunder rank 11th (93.11).
L.A. is 1-4 ATS in their last 5 road games, 2-7 ATS in their last 9 games as a road underdog of 0.5-4.5, and 4-0 ATS in their last 4 playoff games as an underdog.
L.A. has an Under record of 7-2 in their last 9 games and an Under record of 11-2 in their last 13 games as a road underdog.
Oklahoma City is 5-1 ATS in their last 6 home games against teams with a winning road record, 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games as a home favorite of 0.5-4.5, and 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games following a ATS win.
Oklahoma City has an Under record of 4-1 in Thunder last 5 games against teams with a winning percentage above 60% and an Under record of 4-0 in their last 4 games as a favorite of 0.5-4.5.
On the injury front C D.J. Mbenga and C Andrew Bynum are day-to-day for L.A. and Oklahoma City is not reporting any significant injuries.
Jason’s Pick: The Thunder are a good home team and the Lakers are vulnerable on the road. Look for Oklahoma City to come out motivated and to win and cover tonight.