NBA Betting: Oklahoma City Thunder at San Antonio Spurs

NBA Betting:  Oklahoma City Thunder at San Antonio Spurs

The Oklahoma City Thunder were expected to make the move to the ‘next level’ this year and waltz into the NBA Finals to give the league the Durant vs. LeBron matchup that they certainly crave. It hasn’t been as easy as anticipated. The Thunder were very lethargic in round one needing 7 games to dispatch a mediocre at best Memphis Grizzlies team. They managed to eliminate the Los Angeles Clippers in six games in the conference semifinals but could have caught their opponents distracted by the Donald Sterling imbroglio. They ran into a buzzsaw in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals getting thoroughly beat by the San Antonio Spurs.

Two years ago the conventional wisdom was that San Antonio had reached the ‘end of the line’. They looked old and slow against the Thunder in the conference finals and fell in six games. The NBA experts proclaimed that the Spurs were ‘over the hill’ and would need to rebuild were they to compete for the championship going forward. Or not–the Spurs were back in the NBA Finals last year and came a few seconds short of upsetting the Miami Heat. Now they’re on the cusp of returning to the finals and are playing their best basketball of the season. They looked thoroughly dominant as they summarily dismissed a talented young Portland Trailblazers team in five games and certainly didn’t look old.

The Thunder will be without forward Serge Ibaka for the rest of the playoffs and that loss is bigger than the mainstream media is reporting. Ibaka provides the Thunder with a physical interior presence and solid rebounding and that vulnerability will be especially evident against the Spurs. San Antonio did what they always do during the regular season–they ‘managed’ it by resting starters, limiting minutes and giving role players an expanded opportunity. That they were able to do that *and* finish with the best record in the Western Conference is a testament to Greg Popovich as a coach. The Thunder were good but not great on the road this season and the home team is a 67% winning play (SU) in game two after winning the first game of a best of 7 series. The Spurs are just too good, too deep and too well coached.