NBA Picks: Pivotal Game Between Thunder & Spurs Will Go 'Under' The Total

Tuesday, May 10, 2016 11:55 AM GMT

I predicted Thunder to win Game 4 against Spurs to even the series and that's exactly what happened in NBA betting. The Spurs are back home for Tuesday's Game 5 and I'm all about the totals now.

Oklahoma City Thunder vs. San Antonio Spurs

Thunder Played With Urgency
When I previewed Game 4, I wrote that it quite possibly could have been Kevin Durant's final game in Oklahoma City as a member of the Thunder with him set to become a free agent this summer. Well, thanks largely to Durant he will have at least one more game in OKC. He tied a playoff career high with 41 points in the Thunder's 111-97 victory, the first time Oklahoma City has reached triple digits in this series. Durant was 14-for-25 from the field and added five rebounds and four assists. A total of 29 of those points came in the second half and 17 of those in the fourth quarter. It was Durant's sixth game in the postseason of 40 points or more in the past seven years, second most in the NBA over that stretch.

The Thunder outscored the Spurs 34-16 in the fourth quarter. Also in the fourth, OKC outrebounded the Spurs 15-6 and had 10 second-chance points. That quarter has often been a huge problem this season as OKC led the NBA in losses in games in which the team led in the fourth quarter at any point.

Russell Westbrook was held to 14 points on 5-for-18 shooting but did have 15 assists and seven rebounds; seven of Westbrook's assists led to dunks. Steven Adams bounced back from a weak Game 3 with 16 points and 11 rebounds in Game 4. OKC outscored the Spurs by 21 points in Adams' 36 minutes. The Thunder also got strong games from reserves Enes Kanter (11 points, eight rebounds in 28 minutes) and Dion Waiters (17 points, three rebounds, three assists in 29 minutes). Even seldom-used Randy Foye had a couple of big buckets in the fourth quarter. He didn't play the previous two games.

Oklahoma City is +245 on NBA odds to win this series.

Duncan Disappears In Loss
If you are a Spurs backer looking for some silver lining from Game 4, they did lead after the first, second and third quarters before losing their first road game of these playoffs. San Antonio also had three players score at least 20 points, which usually is going to mean a victory. Tony Parker led with 22 points, his second straight strong offensive game, while Kawhi Leonard had 21 (but was scoreless on 0-for-5 shooting in the fourth quarter) and LaMarcus Aldridge 20 (one fourth-quarter point). The Spurs were only 7-for-21 from the field in the fourth quarter.

In addition, future Hall of Famer Tim Duncan, probably one of the 15 best players in league history, didn't even attempt a shot and had four fouls in just 12 minutes of action. It's the first time in Duncan's playoff career he was scoreless and first time in his entire career, regular season included, where Duncan didn't have a shot attempt. Fellow starter Danny Green was also scoreless in 28 minutes. I don't care how good your defense is, you likely aren't beating many teams when you have two starters put up a goose egg. You also aren't winning when making only two 3-pointers.

The Spurs are considered one of the most unselfish, top passing teams in the NBA. Yet they had just 12 assists on their 40 field goals made. It was the team's lowest assist percentage in a game since way back in 1987. More than half of San Antonio's field goal attempts in Game 4 came after only one pass or fewer. In the Spurs' first seven playoff games, they averaged 54.7 points on shots directly off passes. In Game 4, that number dropped to 26. That's not San Antonio basketball. The team's 18-point fourth-quarter point differential was its second-largest ever in a playoff game under Coach Gregg Popovich.

There have been 15 previous teams to win at least 65 regular-season games -- as San Antonio did -- and then find themselves tied 2-2 in a playoff series. All 15 of those teams would win the series. The Spurs are -290 on NBA picks to do so.

NBA Free Picks: I believe the winner of this game takes this series. And the Spurs will win Game 5 and cover. Go 'under' the total. The Thunder are 1-4 ATS in their past five after a win. The Spurs are 18-6 ATS in their past 24 after a loss. The 'under' is 5-2 in the past seven meetings.

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Free NBA Pick: Under 199.5 -110
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker