L.A. Lakers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder Ford Center, Oklahoma City, OK 9:30 PM EST Friday April 30, 2010 on ESPN
by Jason Green at Predictem.com
Point Spread: Lakers +1.5 / Thunder -1.5
Bet on LA Lakers NBA playoff games at -105 odds instead of the standard -110 at 5Dimes.
The Lakers lead this best of 7 series 3-2.
The Oklahoma City Thunder host the L.A. Lakers in Game 6 tonight in this Western Conference series and now all the pressure is on them. There was a lot of pressure on the Lakers after they dropped 2 games in a row in Oklahoma City to even the series, but came out and smoked the Thunder in Game 5. The Lakers have yet to win on the road in the playoffs, but can the young Thunder handle the pressure of a must win game?
This season the Thunder were 27-14 at home and the Lakers were 23-18 on the road.
The Lakers crushed the Thunder 111-87 in L.A. on Tuesday night in Game 5.
In Game 5 the Lakers jumped out to a 15-point lead after the 1st quarter and led by 21 points at halftime. The Thunder cannot let that happen in this game or they are toast.
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook have been the big guns for the Thunder in this series, but each has to step it up and play better than they did in Game 5. In that game Durant only 17 points on 5/14 shooting and Westbrook had 15 on 4/13 shooting. It may be harder for Westbrook to get back on track, as he will be guarded by Kobe Bryant, who asked to guard the young PG and shut him down.
The Thunder won both the games at home because they hit the boards hard and got out on the break and scored. In Game 5 the Lakers out-rebounded them by 3 and only allowed them to have 7 fast break points. If that happens again and tonight’s game is a half-court contest this series will not be going back to L.A. for a Game 7.
The Thunder have to play better interior defense, well actually better overall D, as in Game 5 the Lakers shot over 53% from the floor. Kobe Bryant only had 13 points, but only took 9 shots, as the 7-foot tandem of Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol combined to score 45 points on 18/26 shooting and grabbed 22 boards.
In Game 5 Pau Gasol was the high scorer for L.A. going for 25 points on 10/16 shooting and the high scorer for the Thunder was Durant going for 17 points on 5/14 shooting. For the game the Thunder were ice cold only going 31/84 from the floor for a FG% of 36.9% while the Lakers shot 42/78 for a FG% of 53.8%. The Lakers out-rebounded the Thunder by 3 boards (45-42) and had 3 fewer turnovers (16 to 13).
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 (95.07) and the Thunder rank 11th (93.34).
L.A. is 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games, 1-6 ATS in their last 7 road games, and 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games as an underdog.
L.A. has an Over record of 6-2 in their last 8 road games and an Under record of 11-4 in their last 15 games as a road underdog.
Oklahoma City is 4-0 ATS in their last 4 home games, 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games as a home favorite of 0.5-4.5, and 8-1 ATS in their last 9 games following a loss of more than 10 points.
Oklahoma City has an Over record of 6-2 in their last 8 games and an Over record of 7-3-1 in their last 11 games as a home favorite.
On the injury front SG Sasha Vujacic is Out and C D.J. Mbenga is day-to-day for L.A. while Oklahoma City is not reporting any significant injuries.
Jason’s Pick: In an interesting trend L.A. is 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games in Oklahoma City. Expect that to continue tonight as the Thunder will likely win this game by 5 or more points.