Los Angeles Clippers (+160) vs.Oklahoma City Thunder (-180)
With allthat said, this should be one of the most entertaining second round series, andbetween these two teams, I think seven games is only right. Seeing as both wentseven games in the previous round, I don’t think either of them will have anobjection; if they win of course. With that being said, how should we plan on placing our NBA picks when it comes to this series price?
TheClippers had probably the roughest two weeks of any team in the playoffs, andif they have their heads on straight for this series, there is a chance theycould win it despite not having home court advantage. The Clippers pose thesame problems for the Thunder as the Grizzlies did. LA is big down low, andeven though their defense isn’t as good, their offense makes up for a lot ofthat.
Thatisn’t to say the Clippers aren’t able to play any defense, but they surelydon’t have anyone close to the defensive ability of Tony Allen. However Allenand the Grizzlies did do a good job of exposing Durant for the first five gamesof that series, and if Matt Barnes can do anything similar, you can bet thatthis series will be won by the Clippers.
Barnesis actually still a good defender, and even though he isn’t known for hislockdown defense, his length and height should help in trying to slow down KD.Allen is not very tall, and was giving up several inches to Durant. Now withBarnes, at least the size advantage isn’t there for Durant and the Thunder.
The Sharp Pick
Thekey/deciding matchup in this entire series may be the battle between BlakeGriffin and Serge Ibaka. Ibaka is a good defender, but I can’t say he is agreat individual defender. He is great on the help side, and he is gettingbetter in the post, but Griffin’s strength and quickness might be too much forIbaka to handle.
On topof all that, even though he has no offensive game, Deandre Jordan was stillgetting some points last series, and if the Grizzlies couldn’t keep him off theglass, I don’t expect Kendrick Perkins to. The Clippers are just as big, andeven more athletic than the Grizzlies were, and I see it giving the Thunderenough trouble to where they might lose this series.
Thesetwo teams split their season series against one another 2-2 both SU and ATS. However,both teams also won on each other’s floor once this regular season both SU andATS. If Chris Paul can step his game up on both ends of the floor in thisseries, the Clippers have enough to knock off the Thunder. Paul’s presence onoffense is going to be needed much more than in the last series, and even thoughthe defense of the Thunder probably isn’t as good as the defense LA played lastseries, this series the Clippers will have to shell out a lot more effort onthe defensive end. However as long as both Durant and Russell Westbrook don’tgo off in the same game, the Clippers should win that game, and the series.
MyPick: Clippers +160