L.A. Lakers (57-25 SU 34-46-2 ATS) vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (50-32 SU 48-34 ATS) Ford Center, Oklahoma City, OK Saturday April 24, 2010 on ESPN
by Jason Green at Predictem.com
Point Spread: Lakers +2/Thunder -2
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The Lakers lead this best of 7 series 2-1.
In Game 4 of a Western Conference opening round playoff series the Oklahoma City Thunder host the defending champion L.A. Lakers. The Thunder got back in the series with a win in Game 3 and they will knot the series at 2 games apiece if they can win this game.
Oklahoma City won Game 3 101-96 on Friday night.
This season the Thunder were 27-14 at home and the Lakers were 23-18 on the road.
In Game 3 the Lakers had a 1-point lead heading into the 4th quarter, but the Thunder out-scored L.A. by 6 points to win the game. Kobe Bryant did go for 24 points in the game, but he was only 10/29 from the floor. He may want to pass more in this game, as in Game 3 every other L.A. starter shot at least 50% from the floor.
The main reason the Thunder won Game 3 is that they dominated the boards out-rebounding the Lakers by 14 (53 to 39).
Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum have to step up and hit the boards in this game or they may be going back to La La Land tied in this series.
Kevin Durant was only 8/24 from the floor, but he was 12/13 from the charity stripe and he could not be stopped on the boards pulling down 19 rebounds.
He will get his points, but the Lakers have to keep him off the boards and force him to take outside shots.
Durant was also solid on defense, as he is the main reason the Bryant struggled with his shot in Game 3.
The Lakers have to play much better perimeter defense in this game, as in Game 3 Thunder PG Russell Westbrook scored 27 points and as a team the Thunder had a 3-point FG% of 42.1%.
In Game 3 K. Bryant was the high scorer for the Lakers going for 24 points on only 10/29 shooting and the high scorer for the Thunder was Kevin Durant going for 29 points on 8/24 shooting. For the game the Lakers shot 38/84 for a FG% of 45.2% while the Thunder shot 33/80 from the floor for a FG% of 41.3%. The Thunder had 14 more rebounds and they committed 9 turnovers while the Lakers only committed 8.
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 1-5 ATS in their last 6 road games, -4 ATS in their last 4 road games vs. a team with a winning home record, and is 4-0 ATS in their last 4 Saturday games.
L.A. has an Under record of 7-3 in their last 10 games, Over record of 5-2 in their last 7 road games, and an Under record of 4-1 in their last 5 games against team with a winning record.
Oklahoma City is 6-1 ATS in their last 7 home games against teams with a winning road record, 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games following an ATS win, and 14-6 ATS in their last 20 games against teams with a winning percentage above 60%.
Oklahoma City has an Over record of 9-4 in their last 13 games and an Under record of 6-2-1 in their last 9 home games against teams with a winning road record.
L.A. is 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games against Oklahoma City.
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: Look for the Thunder to fully utilize the home court advantage to win and cover the spread in this game.