NBA Pick: NBA Playoff Play of the Day Monday

LT Profits Sports Group

Monday, May 19, 2014 4:00 AM GMT

Monday, May. 19, 2014 4:00 AM GMT

Every day during the NBA Playoffs, LT Profits Sports seeks that one single playoff play that has the best chance of cashing. Here is their Playoff Play of the Day Monday.

Defense may play a bigger role than many observers expect in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals Monday night when the second seeded Oklahoma City Thunder (67-28, 29-18 away) pay a visit to the top seeded San Antonio Spurs (70-24, 38-10 home) at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, TX at 9:05 ET in a game televised nationally on TNT.

The posted total at Bet365 is 209 for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -110.

Both of these teams have had time off since wrapping up their conference semifinals, which is a welcome relief after both were extended to seven games in their opening round series! That is especially true of the Spurs, who have been off since Wednesday after making quick work of the Portland Trail Blazers.

The Thunder needed six games to shake of the third seeded Los Angeles Clippers, but they did so with the clincher coming on the road at the Staples Center on Thursday. That win did not come without a big price however, as Serge Ibaka injured his calf in that game and is expected to miss the rest of the playoffs!

While Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook get most of the publicity, Ibaka may be the Thunder’s best two-way player as he has always been an elite defender but he also improved his scoring this season to the point where he finished third on the team with his 15.1 points per game. Thus, the absence of Ibaka could potentially change the complexion of this series on both ends for Oklahoma City.

Nonetheless, the Thunder are still not lacking in great defenders as Thabo Sefolosha is one of the best defensive guards in the league and the absence if Ibaka may mean more minutes for Kendrick Perkins, who is also a very good defender as well as a good rebounder.

With Oklahoma City boasting the league’s leading scorer in Durant and one of the best second options in the NBA in Westbrook, it is sometimes easy to overlook the fact that the Oklahoma City defense finished third in the league in field goal percentage allowed this season at 43.6 percent and fifth in defensive efficiency, and in a matchup featuring two of the top six scoring offenses in the league, defense should play a key role in the outcome of this series.

The Thunder finished fifth in the NBA in scoring at 106.2 points per game while the Spurs finished sixth with 105.4 per contest, but San Antonio is another team that has an underrated defense. The Spurs matched their scoring ranking by ranking an identical sixth defensively in points against at 97.6 per game as well as eighth in field goal percentage allowed at 44.4 percent.

Granted that defense was not evident during the seven-game first round series vs. the Dallas Mavericks, but it returned in the Western semifinals where the Spurs beat the Blazers in five games while holding Portland to 41.8 percent shooting for the series!

Add this up and this posted total seems a bit inflated while giving too much credit the fine offenses of these clubs but not enough to the two defenses, so go ‘under’ the big number in San Antonio for Game 1 on Monday.

[gameodds]5/291353/?r-1=43-238-92-349-192/us[/gameodds]

NBA Pick: Thunder, Spurs ‘under’ 209 (-110)

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