Oklahoma City Thunder at San Antonio Spurs (-7.5, 203 o/u)
The Oklahoma City Thunder (4-2 SU, 3-3 ATS) spent the regular season trying to establish themselves among the top-tier in the Western Conference. In Game 1 of their second-round playoff series, the San Antonio Spurs (5-0 SU, 4-1 ATS) showed that OKC is still a ways off, routing Kevin Durant and company 124-92. The Spurs will look to take a 2-0 lead tonight when they host the Thunder at the AT&T Center (9:30 PM Eastern).
From the opening tip, the outcome of Game 1 was rarely in doubt. The Spurs started strong, taking a 73-40 lead into halftime, and then cruised to the finish.
The defensively suspect Thunder had no answer for Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge, who went 18 of 23 from the field for 38 points. And they’re usually potent offense (110 PPG during the regular season) went quiet, including Durant and Russell Westbrook, who combined for just 30 points.
If OKC is going to have any chance in this series, Serge Ibaka (19 points) cannot be the team’s leading scorer.
San Antonio will try to employ the same game plan that worked so well on Saturday: run the offense through Aldridge, exposing OKC’s lack of a dominant post presence. (All offense intended to Steven Adams.)
Gregg Popovich will also continue to lean heavily on Kawhi Leonard. The small forward, who just earned his second straight Defensive Player of the Year Award, not only did a great job shutting down the Thunder’s dynamic scorers, but also added 25 points on 78-percent shooting.
The blowout loss continued a trend for the Thunder, who are 1-7 straight-up in their last eight in San Antonio. It was also the fifth time in the last seven that the Thunder have failed to cover against the Spurs. Durant and Westbrook are going to have better nights, in particular Westbrook (who was 5 of 19 from the floor in Game 1), but the Thunder just don’t matchup terribly well with San Antonio. Unless both Durant and Westbrook are playing lights out – which you haven’t been able to count on these playoffs – the Spurs should be able to cover.
Pick: Spurs -7.5.
(Photo Credit: Keith Allison (Tim Duncan) CC BY-SA 2.0 [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0], via Wikimedia Commons)