Los Angeles Clippers (+160) vs.
Oklahoma City Thunder (-180)
With all that said, this should be one of the most entertaining second round series, and between these two teams, I think seven games is only right. Seeing as both went seven games in the previous round, I don’t think either of them will have an objection; 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?
The Clippers had probably the roughest two weeks of any team in the playoffs, and if they have their heads on straight for this series, there is a chance they could win it despite not having home court advantage. The Clippers pose the same problems for the Thunder as the Grizzlies did. LA is big down low, and even though their defense isn’t as good, their offense makes up for a lot of that.
That isn’t to say the Clippers aren’t able to play any defense, but they surely don’t have anyone close to the defensive ability of Tony Allen. However Allen and the Grizzlies did do a good job of exposing Durant for the first five games of that series, and if Matt Barnes can do anything similar, you can bet that this series will be won by the Clippers.
Barnes is actually still a good defender, and even though he isn’t known for his lockdown 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 with Barnes, at least the size advantage isn’t there for Durant and the Thunder.
The Sharp Pick
The key/deciding matchup in this entire series may be the battle between Blake Griffin and Serge Ibaka. Ibaka is a good defender, but I can’t say he is a great individual defender. He is great on the help side, and he is getting better in the post, but Griffin’s strength and quickness might be too much for Ibaka to handle.
On top of all that, even though he has no offensive game, Deandre Jordan was still getting some points last series, and if the Grizzlies couldn’t keep him off the glass, I don’t expect Kendrick Perkins to. The Clippers are just as big, and even more athletic than the Grizzlies were, and I see it giving the Thunder enough trouble to where they might lose this series.
These two 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 and ATS. If Chris Paul can step his game up on both ends of the floor in this series, the Clippers have enough to knock off the Thunder. Paul’s presence on offense is going to be needed much more than in the last series, and even though the defense of the Thunder probably isn’t as good as the defense LA played last series, this series the Clippers will have to shell out a lot more effort on the defensive end. However as long as both Durant and Russell Westbrook don’t go off in the same game, the Clippers should win that game, and the series.My Pick: Clippers +160