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by Larry Ness - 05/11/2016
Playoff Journal (May 11)
The Spurs fell apart in the fourth quarter of their Game meeting with the Thunder in OKC and again last night, could not stand up to the Thunder, this time at home. The two Western Conference rivals met in Tuesday’s lone contest, tied at two-all. Both team were aware that the winner of Game 5 (when a best of seven series is tied at two-all) has gone on to take that series 83 percent of the time. The Spurs fell behind early but a 32-21 second quarter gave them a 48-43 lead at the half. The game entered the fourth quarter with the Spurs up by three points and after a Leonard steal and layup, San Antonio led 88-82 with four minutes remaining.
However, the Thunder scored the next EIGHT points to go up 90-88 and would up ending the game on a 13-3 run over the game’s final four minutes. Westbrook scored seven points in that span, finishing with a game-high 35 points, while adding 11 rebounds and nine assists. Durant had 23 plus the center combo of Adams and Kanter continued their effectiveness. Adams had 12 & 11 (has now reached double digits in rebounding in all five games), while Kanter added 8 & 13. OKC out-rebounded San Antonio 54-36. Leonard led the Spurs with 26, Aldridge added 20 & 9 and Green had his best game of the series with 20. However, San Antonio’s “Big 3” looks bad these days. Duncan played 28 minutes but made only 1 of 6 shots for five points and three rebounds. Parker was just 4 of 12 from the floor for nine points. Ginobili scored three points off the bench.
Duncan has seemingly aged 10 years this postseason and is averaging 3.4 & 3.6 in the series. Parker is averaging 11.8 PPG and 6.2 APG but has averaged a pathetic 6.0 PPG in the three contests in Sn Antonio. Ginobili is averaging 6.8 PPG in the series, in 18.6 MPG off the bench. The Spurs were 40-1 SU at home during the regular season and won their first three home playoff games. They’ve now lost TWO home games in a row and if they can't win at OKC in Game 6, they won’t get another game at home. Home teams fell to 9-8 SU and ATS in the semifinals and last night’s under makes it 8 overs and nine unders. “Zig-Zaggers” lost with the Spurs and are now 7-6 ATS in the second round.
Checking in on the postseason numbers to-date, it’s 39-22 SU (.639) for home teams and 34-27 ATS (55.7%). There have been 40 unders in the 61 games (that’s 65.6%) and those following the Zig Zag theory are 24-25 (minus-3.5 net games). TNT gets a doubleheader tonight, Miami at Toronto in a Game 5 at 8:00 ET, with that series tied at two-all (see above for the importance of the contest). The second half of the doubleheader has Portland in Oakland to take on Golden St at 10:30 ET, as the Warriors look to eliminate the Blazers (lead the series 3-1).
Both Miami and Toronto will be without their starting centers and considering THREE of the first four games in this series reached OT, another close one should be expected. Is it possible that the Raptors can win this series if DeRozan and Lowry continue their AWFUL shooting? See Monday’s journal for the ‘ugly’ details. Toronto is favored by 4 1/2 points. The Blazers had excellent chances to win Game 2 in Oakland (led 87-76 heading into the 4th quarter) and of course in Game 4 in Portland, which went into OT. However, Curry went 10 of 14 in the fourth quarter and OT in Game 4, setting an all-time NBA mark with 17 points in the OT period. Thompson is averaging 30.5 PPG for the series and Green 24.5-11.3-7.8. Anyone really thinking of taking Portland on the moneyline in this one. Golden St is favored by 13 points.
Thursday’s journal by 12 noon ET.