Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals takes place on Saturday as the San Antonio Spurs look to take a 3-1 lead over the Oklahoma City Thunder. The game is scheduled for an 8:30 pm start time and it will be televised live on TNT. Currently the odds have Oklahoma City favored by 3.5 points with the total sitting at 201.5 points for the contest.
Free Analysis: After ending the Spurs win streak at 20 games with a 20-point drubbing on Thursday, the Thunder look to tie up the Western Conference Finals at two games apiece tonight night. the Spurs are in the unfamiliar territory of following an SU loss, but they have been just fine in this scenario this season, going 12-4 (11-5 ATS), outscoring these teams by 7.5 PPG (102.3 to 94.8). After scoring 120 points in Game 2, the Spurs were held to 41 in each half as no player surpassed 16 points. San Antonio’s starting frontcourt of C Tim Duncan, PF Boris Diaw and SF Kawhi Leonard combined for a mere 14 points on 6-of-20 FG in 55 minutes of action. Duncan had his second straight off-shooting night (5-for-15 FG), and is now 7-of-26 (26.9%) in the past two games. Although he tallied five blocks, Duncan pulled down only two rebounds in his 26 minutes of action. Leonard posted a double-double in Game 2 (18 points, 10 rebounds), but was limited to just 15 minutes on Thursday, scoring two points with six rebounds. PG Tony Parker, who was incredible in Game 2 (34 points on 16-of-21 FG) shot well again in Game 3 (6-of-12 FG, 2-of-4 threes), but also had five turnovers and just four assists. SG Manu Ginobili scored 23.0 PPG on 60% FG (15-of-25 FG) in Games 1-2, but he tallied just eight points on 1-of-5 FG with four turnovers on Thursday. The Spurs snapped a nine-game road win streak, but are still an impressive 26-12 SU (22-15-1 ATS) away from home this season. And even with Tuesday’s loss, San Antonio is still 10-2 (8-4 ATS) in the past 12 meetings with the Thunder, including 5-2 (SU and ATS) at Oklahoma City. There were many heroes for Oklahoma City in its 102-82 crushing of the Spurs in Game 3, but the most unlikely of stars was SG Thabo Sefolosha who scored 19 points with six rebounds and six steals. His defense was a big reason why the Spurs shot 39.5% FG (38% on two-point tries) and committed 21 turnovers. The Thunder nailed 46% of their field-goal attempts and outscored their opponent by 20 points in the paint (44 to 24) and 18-7 on fast-break points. Oklahoma City saw a lot more balanced scoring in Game 3 as 11 different players made field goals. Five reached double-figures led by Kevin Durant’s 22 points on 8-of-17 FG (0-for-4 threes). PG Russell Westbrook had been averaging 23.7 PPG in the 2012 playoffs entering Thursday, but finished Game 3 with a mere 10 points on 5-of-15 shooting. SG James Harden added 15 points, while PF Serge Ibaka posted a +22 rating with 14 points, three blocks and two steals to make up for his paltry three rebounds. Oklahoma City improved to 32-7 SU at Chesapeake Energy Arena, but is just 20-19 ATS at home.
Free Pick: Had the Under in game 3 and will come right back with it here. We know that both teams can score in the millions, but these teams also know how to play some good defense. The Spurs lost for the first time since April 11 in game 3 and they have played very well off a loss this year, especially defensively as they have allowed just 94.8 ppg off a loss.The Spurs have allowed 98.2 ppg on the road this year, but just 91.6 ppg on the road in the playoffs. The Thunder held the high flying Spurs to just 82 in game, and that isn't anything new in these playoffs. The Thunder have allowed 95.3 ppg at home this year, but in the playoffs they have allowed just 89 ppg, while just 1 of their 6 home playoff game have put up more than 201 points. Both teams did show a commitment to defense in game 3 and I expect more of the same in this one, as I see this one in the lower 190's.
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