In: NBA Free Picks4 Jun 2012
Free Picks Newsletter Lead Researcher
173-114-1 Overall Record
NBA Predictions: Oklahoma City Thunder (+5) vs. San Antonio Spurs (-5) Over-Under 202
In these Conference Finals, every team lacks the ability to win on their opponent’s home court. This series in particular started with two dominating performances by the Spurs only to see them turn around and get dominated by the Thunder in the next two games. Now, as the series shifts back to San Antonio’s home court I expect for a confident Thunder team to make a strong run at San Antonio that will likely give fans the first close contest of the series.
Most of the time game 5 is the deciding game in a tied series, and this one should be no different. When you consider that neither team has managed to win on the others home court, the Thunder desperately need this game to have a chance anyway. Kevin Durant put on an impressive performance in game 4 with a little unexpected assistance from Serge Ibaka that propelled Oklahoma City to victory and when Durant plays the way he did in that game the Spurs have no answer for him.
Not only do the Spurs need to find an answer for Kevin Durant defensively, they need to find ways to get Tony Parker going again. Parker’s last two games will make any fan forget that he was a late season MVP candidate. The only question is whether Parker’s ineffectiveness was a result of the location of the playoff game or was it Thabo Sefolosha’s defense that prevented Parker from getting off.
I believe that Sefolosha deserves the majority of the credit for his defensive effort and it’s a known fact that defense travels to any arena. If he can contain Parker the same way he did in Oklahoma City, the chances of the Spurs winning game 5 are slim to none. The young Thunder will have to take the intensity up another notch to get the first road win of this series.
Even though the Thunder struggled versus the Spurs during the regular season, it was a great sign that Oklahoma City was able to defend their home court in such convincing fashion. Oklahoma City is 4-1 against the spread in their last 5 road games and 4-0 against the spread in their last 4 games after scoring 100 points or more in their previous contest. The Thunder have a good chance of winning based off of their play at home in the last two games, but if this game follows the same pattern it has the Thunder will still prevent the Spurs from covering the spread even if they lose.
Pick: Oklahoma City +5