No. 6 Oklahoma City Thunder at No. 3 Houston Rockets
Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook has had one of the three best statistical seasons in NBA history in averaging a triple-double in the regular season and setting the league record with 42 of them. He’s working on an NBA playoff-record three straight 30-point triple-doubles against Houston in this series, but the Rockets can close things out back home. The Thunder have actually led for 128 out of 192 minutes in series. Those are the most minutes any team has led in any series this postseason. There’s only so much Westbrook can do himself. The Thunder’s bench is being dominated by their Houston reserves. And OKC is getting killed whenever Westbrook takes a breather. One thing potentially working in Oklahoma City’s chances of extending to a Game 6 is a minor ankle injury suffered by James Harden in Game 4. He struggled through it in Sunday’s Game 5. The Rockets are 7.5-point favorites at Sportsbook Review’s top online gaming sites.
No. 7 Memphis Grizzlies at No. 2 San Antonio Spurs
The home team is 4-0 in this series as it heads back to southern Texas. Kawhi Leonard has been unstoppable in this series and comes off a career-high 43 points in Game 4, including scoring San Antonio’s final 16 in regulation to send it to OT. With defensive stopper Tony Allen injured, the Grizzlies simply have no one to slow Leonard, who has a true shooting percentage of 75.1 in the series. So how is Memphis tied? One big reason is that Mike Conley is dominating the point guard matchup against Tony Parker and Patty Mills. Despite 46 fewer floor minutes than that duo combined in the series, Conley has outscored then 96-86 and leads in assists (31-16) and in fewer turnovers (11-8). The Grizzlies also are better in the middle with Mike Conley. San Antonio is -10 to take a 3-2 lead.
No. 5 Utah Jazz at No. 4 LA Clippers
Injuries have altered this series like no other. First, it was Jazz center Rudy Gobert hurting his knee early in Game 1. Advantage: Clippers. Then it was Clippers star forward Blake Griffin suffering a season-ending toe injury in Game 3. The Jazz still lost that game but welcomed back Gobert earlier than expected in Game 4 and he was a difference-maker in the middle with 15 points, 13 rebounds and two blocks. Utah won despite little from leading scorer. Gordon Hayward, who was suffering from food poisoning. Joe Johnson stepped up with 28 points in Game 4. In the final seven minutes of that game, the Jazz outscored the Clippers 25-11 and Johnson scored or assists on 22 of those points. Johnson has been the biggest non-injury story of this series. L.A. will get a key reserve back for Game 5 in guard Austin Rivers. Rivers strained his left hamstring March 29 against the Washington Wizards and sat out the remaining six games of the regular season and the first four games of the playoffs. Coach Doc Rivers’ son will be on a minutes limit. The Clippers are -3.5.