Even though his opponent, Kevin Durant won the league MVP award this year, Chris Paul was the one who looked like the MVP in Game 1. Paul was 8-9 from the three-point line for a game high 32 points, and he was taking it to Russell Westbrook all game. However even after their convincing win on the road in Game 1, the NBA Odds still have the Thunder as -5 ½ favorites, with a total of 214 ½.
We cashed the 'over' successfully in Game 1 with a total only a point or two lower than this one, and at 214 ½, it could be a solid wager as well. The scoring prowess of these two teams may be the most we have seen in one playoff series so far this postseason, and even though defense does improve in the playoffs, there is too much good offense on either side of the ball to be stopped. Good offense always beats good defense in the end, and these two teams could be the two best offensive teams remaining in the playoffs.
The Clippers have now gone into Oklahoma City two straight times and scored at least 120 points. Therefore it would not surprise me to see them eclipse the 100-point mark with plenty of time left in the 4th quarter again. The Thunder defense is simply not great, and even though they can score well, they have little in regards to individual defenders. Blake Griffin tore Serge Ibaka up in Game 1 in route to 23 points (7-16 shooting). However Griffin also added five assists and five rebounds, and finished +21 for the game.
The Sharp Pick
The Clippers seem to be employing a style of defense that is pretty radical, but it might just work against a team like the Thunder. They allowed both Westbrook and Durant to shoot plenty, but the rest of the Thunder didn’t do much on offense. OKC simply doesn’t have a good third scoring option since the departure of James Harden.
The rest of the Thunder players that scored (9 players altogether) only scored a combined 51 points, which is far from enough. OKC will likely get more from Ibaka in Game 2, but he isn’t a guy that can constantly go get you 20 points. The likes of Caron Butler and Reggie Jackson were nowhere to be found in Game 1, and that will have to improve for OKC if they want to win.
However even with the poor offensive performances from the Thunder role players, the total still skied 'over'. Six of the last eight meetings from these teams dating back to the beginning of the 2012-2013 season have gone 'over' the total. For the Clippers, being an underdog this regular and postseason has led to the 'over' being a great play. As a dog this season, the Clippers are 13-5 cashing the 'over'.
There is no need to go away from the winning NBA pick 'over' in Game 2. The Clippers have now cashed the 'over' in four of their last five games, while the Thunder have cashed the 'over' four games in a row, and in six of their last seven postseason games.
My Pick: 'over' 214 ½