Oklahoma City Thunder (50-32 SU 48-34 ATS) vs. L.A. Lakers (57-25 SU 34-46-2 ATS) 9:30 PM EST Thursday April 22, 2010 on TNT
by Jason Green at Predictem.com
Point Spread: Thunder +6 / Lakers -6
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This best of 7 Western Conference opening round series is tied at 2 games apiece.
Tonight the L.A. Lakers host the Oklahoma City Thunder in a very important Game 5. The Lakers got off to a good start in the series winning the first 2 games, but have lost the last 2 in Oklahoma City and the games were not very close, especially Game 4.
In Game 4 the Lakers were crushed by the Thunder 110-89 on Saturday night.
This season the Lakers were 37-5 at home and the Thunder were 23-18 on the road.
Kobe Bryant needs to, well, be Kobe in tonight’s game, as in Game 3 he did have 24 points, but was only 2/10 from the floor in the 4th quarter and only scored 12 points in Game 4. Kobe tried to get more of the Lakers involved in Game 4, but tonight he has to score tonight for the Lakers to win.
In Game 4 L.A. shot a higher FG%, but they were out-rebounded, had more turnovers, and only shot 4/22 from 3-point land.
Kevin Durant has been awesome in this series and he will get his points tonight and the Lakers have to keep him off the boards.
The Lakers have to get back on D, as the Thunder killed them on fast break points in Game 4 scoring 24 fast break points while the Lakers only had 2. The Lakers have Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol and if the Lakers can slow the tempo of the game they have a much better half court offense with these 2 7-footers.
All the pressure is on the Lakers in this game, as nobody expected the Thunder to win this series. However, if history is any indication the Lakers will not lose, as they are 17-0 all time when they are playing a Game 5 at home when the series is tied.
The high scorer for the Thunder in Game 4 was Kevin Durant going for 22 points on 6/12 shooting and for the Lakers it was Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum each going for 13 points. For the game the Thunder shot 31/76 from the floor for a FG% of 40.8% and the Lakers shot 34/82 for a FG% of 41.5%. For the game the Thunder had 7 more rebounds (50 to 43), more offensive rebounds (13 to 10), and had fewer turnovers (8 to 11).
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 4th (94.79) and the Thunder rank 9th (93.62).
Oklahoma City is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games, 14-6 ATS in their last 20 games as a road underdog, 21-9 ATS in their last 30 games against teams with a winning record.
Oklahoma City has an Over record of 10-4 in their last 14 games, and Over record of 7-2 in their last 9 road games, and has an Over record of 5-2 in their last 7 games as a road underdog.
L.A. is 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games, 1-4 ATS in their last 5 home games, and 4-9-1 ATS in their last 14 games as a favorite of 5.0-10.5.
L.A. has an Under record of 7-1 in their last 8 home games, an Under record of 6-2 in their last 8 games as a favorite, and an Under record of 20-6 in their last 26 playoff games as a favorite.
In the last 6 games between these 2 teams the Thunder are 5-1 ATS and in the last 5 games between these 2 teams in L.A. the total has gone Under 4 times.
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: I’m starting to think that Oklahoma City could possibly upset the Lakeshow if they bring their “A” game. I love their chances at covering the spread tonight.