Business Picking Up
One of my all time favorite Jim Ross quotes is “business is about to pick up,” and I can find no better headline to these Western Conference Finals heading into Game 5. After it looked like the Thunder were once again going to lose in the playoffs due to a major injury, Serge Ibaka’s return, and the emergence of Reggie Jackson helped the Thunder to win two straight games.
Jackson hurt his ankle last night, tried to return, but for whatever reason, left again with only 13 minutes in the third quarter. He said after the game he would be fine for Game 5, however his pain tolerance and swelling will probably have more say in it. If he can’t go, or is limited it would hamper the Thunder offense some. Jackson is by far the Thunder’s best three point shooter outside of Kevin Durant, and although it didn’t show on Tuesday with OKC already in control of the game, it might on the road where scoring tends to be more difficult. The NBA Odds have OKC as a +4 underdog in Game 5 on the road, with a total of 206.
This season, the Thunder have been very successful against the Spurs ATS, and if it wasn’t for their two losses in San Antonio in Games 1 and 2 without Ibaka, they would be a perfect 8-0 ATS and SU against them this season. That’s somewhat of an impressive accomplishment, however going back to San Antonio is not going to be a walk in the park, especially if Jackson can’t play.
No one can deny that Russell Westbrook grew up a little more last night, and if he is winning his matchup against Tony Parker, this series might be over sooner rather than later. However instead of speculate on the spread, much like Game 4 where we cashed, I have a total play that seems like a much safer wager.
The Sharp Pick
We cashed the under in Game 4, and now the under has cashed in three straight games in this series. Furthermore, the score has fallen under in seven of the last ten times these two have met overall, including five out of eight this season. For the Thunder six or their last seven playoff games have gone under the total, and the Spurs have cashed the under in five of their last six dating back to the final two games against Portland.
After having to stew on the bench and watch the subs almost comeback against the Thunder starters, I think San Antonio got the message loud and clear from Gregg Popovich. The Spurs still have two of the next three games at home, and with both teams likely tightening down the defense in a tied series, the under looks like it might have a chance to cash for the fourth straight game in this series. It’s only dropped a point since Game 4, and although it’s down from 210 in Game 2, the likelihood of one or both teams staying below 100 points is good.
My Pick: Under 206