Well I guess there’s no better way to start off the second round than with a huge match-up between two juggernauts in the Western Conference. The Los Angeles Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder had to earn their way to the second round though, as both teams were pushed to a Game 7 by their first round opponents. The Clippers beat a tough Warriors team, while the Thunder knocked off the injury-plauged (and Zach Randolph-less) Grizzlies. Both teams only got one full day off before they had to play each other, making this one even more interesting.
Los Angeles Clippers (+5.5)
The Clippers are averaging a very nice 107.9 points per game this year, and they’ve been great at home with a 34-7 record. They’ll need to steal one on the road though to win this series, and they had a respectable 23-18 record away from the Staples Center this year. Led by Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, as well as the monstrous play from DeAndre Jordan recently, they’re playing some excellent basketball even through all the drama.
Oklahoma City Thunder (-5.5)
While it’s no surprise that the Thunder are favored here at home, it’s going to be interesting to see how they do against this motivated Clippers team. They do get the advantage of not having to travel after their Game 7 victory, and let’s not forget that they have the player who is likely the 2014 MVP in Kevin Durant. This team can score the ball well at 106.2 points per game, which is right up there with the best in the league (such as the Clippers). It’s going to be interesting to see how fast paced this game gets, and the Thunder have an equally as incredible home record as the Clippers do, as they’ve gone 34-7 on their home floor.
While the Thunder are almost six point favorites, it’s interesting to note that the Clippers were actually better ATS away from home this season, and that they played well in the underdog role in most spots. While the Thunder should win this game, don’t be surprised to see the upset, or at least to see the Clippers cover the spread in a huge Game 1 of the second round. One other thing to note is that both of these teams have played to the OVER more than the under, but not by the massive amount that you may expect.
Match Date- Monday, May 5th 2014
Pick: Los Angeles Clippers +5.5