NBA Playoff Preview: Oklahoma City at Golden State, Game 5
Well, if you thought the Oklahoma City Thunder would win Games 3 and 4 against the Golden State Warriors by a combined 52 points and bet large on them, you have a lot more money in your online sportsbook account today. The Thunder followed up a 133-105 spanking of the Warriors in Game 3 with a 118-94 pounding in Game 4, as the Thunder, at long last, are showing the rest of the Association how great they can be, as defense and rebounding have become just as important as offense for this young crew — and the Warriors, winners of 73 games in the regular season, are now in a 3-1 hole in the Western Conference finals. In a conference final, teams that go up 3-1 are 37-2 in NBA history, so things are indeed grim for the defending champs.
NBA Playoff Preview: Oklahoma City Thunder at Golden State Warriors, Game 5
When: Thursday, May 26, 2016, 9:00 PM Eastern time
Where: Oracle Arena, Oakland
Radio: KNBR 680 AM Oakland
Live Stream: NBA-Stream.com
NBA Odds: TBA
Why should you bet on Oklahoma City?
Now that the Thunder are putting their skills to work on defense and rebounding, they are showing that they might be the most complete team in the league. The Thunder blocked eight shots in Game 4 — but it felt like 80, and the Warriors, for the first time this season, look scared to take the ball to the rim. So when their shots stop falling, and when they get tentative, they get into a transition game — and the Thunder are faster. Russell Westbrook was terrific in Game 4, posting yet another triple-double (36 points, 11 boards, 11 assists), and Kevin Durant chipped in 26 points and 11 boards of his own. They are killing the Warriors inside and on defense.
Why should you put your money on the Warriors?
When the Warriors lost Games 3 and 4, that was the first time this season that they have lost consecutive games. When they play at Oracle Arena, they have a home-court advantage that is just as powerful as the one in Oklahoma City. Their fans are loud, and they follow the game. The Warriors shoot better at home (like most teams) and they have ways of running off scoring runs at video game speed. Stephen Curry only went 6 for 20 from the floor, scoring just 19 points. It’s possible that recovering from those ankle and knee injuries is affecting his shot, but you don’t win consecutive MVP awards if you’re not clutch.
Expert Pick and Final Score Prediction
Feeding off the energy at home will make the difference for the Warriors — just as being away from Oklahoma City will dent the emotional furor that the Thunder brought to Games 3 and 4. I’m predicting a 120-115 Golden State win.