San Antonio Spurs 1.51 – Oklahoma City Thunder 2.60 (series tied 2-2)
After dropping two straight contests, the San Antonio Spurs need some answers, fast. But they’re going to have to buck history to get their bid to reach the NBA Finals back on track.
It’s Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals on Thursday with Oklahoma City utterly transformed from the team which were humbled on their initial two trips to South Texas.
Serge Ibaka’s return means the Thunder are now 6-0 against the Spurs this season with the Spaniard in the line-up. And San Antonio will need little reminder of what happened in 2012 when OKC trailed 0-2, only to pull out a blitzkrieg that saw them roll to four in a row and claim the West title.
A similar outcome is now available at 5.00. And the biggest issue, arguably, is that Tony Parker is getting out-played comprehensively by Russell Westbrook at both ends of the floor.
Parker has totalled just 23 points in the past two encounters and also added seven turnovers, a symptom of the Thunder’s on-ball pressure that has disrupted their rivals’ fluidity and forced plenty of mistakes.
Westbrook has averaged 33 points over his past two games but significantly in his side’s 105-92 Game 4 win, Oklahoma City had 21 points off turnovers, ten more than the Spurs.
At their very best, the Thunder do look a shade above the Spurs. They’d also stand a very good chance against Miami or Indiana which is why OKC’s current title odds of 5.50 might end up being a steal.
Yet, you’d expect San Antonio to make some adjustments, particularly defensively to avoid a damaging home reverse. And especially to look for a brighter start, with the first quarter lead at 1.70 worth a punt.
Best bet: Go under 201.5 total points in San Antonio – Oklahoma City at 2.43