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NBA Betting News and Notes Thursday, May 15

NBA Betting News and Notes Thursday, May 15

NBA Playoffs

Very seldom any basketball team gets outrebounded 62-23, but Pacers did in Game 5 and at home- they won both series games here, by 22-3 points. Wizards scored 102 points in both their series wins, 82-63-92 in three losses. Wall was 11-20 from floor last game, after being in scoring funk before that. Washington lost three of its four home playoff games. Pacers won four of five road playoff games. Three of last four series games stayed under.

Clippers blew 7-point lead in last minute Tuesday, took bitter loss with officiating and ball security both under par. LA is 4-2 at home so far in playoffs. Oklahoma City is 3-2 on road in playoffs; they covered five of last seven games overall. Three of last four series games stayed under; underdogs covered four of five in series, with last two decided by total of three points. Clipper bench was 11-31 last game; need more than that. Five of Clippers' six playoff home games went over total.

Over is 42-28 in playoffs this season, 11-9 in this round.
Favorites are 24-46 in playoffs this season, 8-12 in this round.

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Game 6 - Pacers at Wizards

Indiana (63-31) at Washington (50-42) Line and Total: Washington -4.5, Total: 181

The Wizards will try to keep the momentum going when they attempt to tie up their Eastern Conference Semifinals series at home versus the Pacers on Thursday night.

Washington had averaged only 79.0 PPG on 41% FG (27% threes) over three straight defeats in this series, but shot a blistering 50% FG in Tuesday's surprising 102-79 blowout of host Indiana in Game 5. The Wizards got 90 points from their starting five and held a ridiculous 62-23 rebounding advantage (18-4 on offensive glass) thanks in large part to the Pacers making only 39% FG and 59% free throws (13-of-22). Now they go back on the road where they are a strong 25-21 SU (21-25 ATS) this season, and are also 19-9 ATS in the past two seasons on the road revenging a loss versus an opponent.

Although Washington has been a subpar home team this season at 23-22 SU and 17-26-2 ATS, the club has thrived in the underdog role at 30-17-1 ATS (64%). Over the past three seasons, Indiana is 11-4 SU (6-9 ATS) overall in this series, including 5-2 SU (4-3 ATS) in the nation's capital. Although the Pacers are a dismal 5-16 ATS (24%) when facing a winning team in the second half of this season, they are also 21-11 ATS (66%) as a road underdog of 3.5 to 6 points in the past three seasons. The Wizards have no significant injuries, while Indiana remains without backup C Andrew Bynum (knee).

Indiana's offense struggled during the regular season (96.7 PPG on 44.9% FG and 35.7% threes), and has been even worse in this series with 88.2 PPG on 42.2% FG. The defense continues to carry the club to the brink of the conference finals by holding opponents to a meager 90.7 PPG on 40.5% FG during the playoffs. SF Paul George (21.2 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 3.0 APG, 2.0 SPG in series) exploded in Game 4 with 39 points on 12-of-20 FG (7-of-10 threes), but he followed that up with a poor 5-for-15 shooting night on Tuesday, scoring only 15 points with a minus-24 rating. C Roy Hibbert (12.6 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 2.0 BPG in series) was outstanding in his team's three straight victories in this series with 19.7 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 2.3 BPG and +47 rating, but has tallied a pathetic 2.0 PPG, 1.0 RPG, 1.5 BPG and a minus-44 rating in the pair of losses. On Tuesday, the 7-foot-2 All-Star scored four points (2-of-7 FG) with two rebounds and a minus-27 rating.

PF David West (13.4 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 3.8 APG in series) continues to give his team consistent production, netting 17 points with six boards and three assists in Game 5. But after posting a stellar +63 rating in the first four games in this series, he tallied a horrendous minus-35 rating on Tuesday. PG George Hill (11.8 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 3.0 APG, 1.4 SPG in series) has also had a strong series, but provided his worst effort of the second round in Game 5 when he scored only three points on 1-of-8 FG. Hill also tallied two turnovers and two assists and a terrible minus-30 rating in his 31 minutes. Backcourt mate SG Lance Stephenson (10.0 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 4.2 APG in series) failed to score in double-figures for the third straight game on Tuesday, and chipped in only three assists and zero rebounds with a minus-23 rating in an uninspiring 28 minutes. Although Stephenson made half of his shots (4-for-8 FG), he is still 18-of-54 FG (33%) in this series. Indiana's bench produced some strong minutes on Tuesday with all eight reserves scoring, while combining for 31 points (11-of-25 FG) and a +24 rating. This was quite an improvement from the bench's collective two points (1-of-9 FG) and minus-49 rating in Game 4.

Although the Wizards shot well from the floor in Game 5, they made only 5-of-18 threes (28%) and had nearly as many turnovers (19) as assists (21). For the series, the team is scoring only 88.2 PPG on 43.2% FG and 33.7% threes, while averaging a paltry 19.2 APG and 15.6 TOPG. But Washington's team defense has been excellent in the playoffs, where it has limited opponents to a mere 89.1 PPG on 42.2% FG. The offense was in high gear on Tuesday, especially in the second half when Washington scored 57 points. The star of Game 5 was clearly C Marcin Gortat (14.0 PPG, 11.0 RPG, 1.0 BPG in series) who made a near perfect 13-of-15 FG to finish with 31 points, 16 boards and a +34 rating. This was quite a step up from his horrendous showing in Game 4 when he scored two points (1-of-3 FG) with three rebounds and a minus-11 rating.

But Gortat wasn't the only player to shine on Tuesday, as the backcourt of PG John Wall (14.6 PPG, 7.0 APG in series) and SG Bradley Beal (19.2 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 5.0 APG, 2.2 SPG in series) was outstanding. Two days after scoring only 12 points (4-of-11 FG) with a minus-21 rating, Wall poured in 27 points (11-of-20 FG) with a +30 rating in the Game 5 victory. But the superstar point guard has made only 38% FG and 24% threes (4-for-17) during this series. Beal finished his Tuesday with a well-rounded 18 points (7-of-17 FG), eight rebounds, four assists and a +23 rating. Beal has been the team's most consistent scorer versus Indiana with at least 16 points in all five games. Although SF Trevor Ariza (13.2 PPG, 9.6 RPG, 2.2 SPG in series) scored just 10 points on Tuesday, he also grabbed 10 rebounds with five assists. He's happy to return home where he has burned the Pacers for 14.0 PPG (53% FG, 4-of-10 threes), 12.0 RPG and 3.0 SPG in the two meetings this series.

The only Wizards starter that did not play well in Game 5 was PF Nene Hilario (10.2 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 1.8 BPG in series) who scored four points (2-of-6 FG), with four rebounds and four assists in his 24 minutes. After starting this series on a high note with 14.5 PPG and 5.5 RPG in the first two games, Nene has averaged only 7.3 PPG (29% FG) and 3.3 RPG in the past three contests. But unlike the Pacers bench that played terribly in Game 4 and strong in Game 5, the Wizards were been just the opposite. After netting 32 points (13-of-26 FG) in Game 4, the Washington reserves accounted for only 12 points on 4-of-15 FG in Tuesday's victory.

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Game 6 - Thunder at Clippers

Oklahoma City (66-28) at L.A. Clippers (63-31) Line and Total: Los Angeles -4.5, Total: 212

After another crazy finish in Game 5, Oklahoma City hopes to earn a ticket to the Conference Finals in Los Angeles on Thursday night.

It seems that no lead is safe when these two teams are facing each other, and that proved true once again on Tuesday night as the Thunder came back from a seven-point deficit with just 49 seconds to play and finished the game with a 105-104 win as 5.5-point favorites. Both teams shot 43% from the field in the game, but the difference in the end was turnovers. The Clippers gave the ball away 17 times, including twice in the final minute, while Oklahoma City had just 12 turnovers. While the teams shot nearly identical from inside the arc in the game (L.A. 26-of-61, OKC 26-of-60), they combined to go 19-for-44 (43%) from three-point range with L.A. going 12-for-27 (44%) and OKC going 7-for-17 (41%). PG Russell Westbrook (38 points) was the leading scorer in the game while Blake Griffin put up one of his better performances for the Clippers this postseason with a team-high 24 points and 17 rebounds in the loss.

The Thunder have been one of the best road teams in the league this season at 28-18 SU (23-22-1 ATS) in away games overall. Los Angeles has gone 4-2 SU at home this postseason, bringing its record at Staples Center to 38-9 SU (23-24 ATS). The series between these clubs has been tremendous for a few years now and Oklahoma City holds an SU record of 5-4 this year (4-5 ATS) while going 9-7 (SU and ATS) over the past three seasons. But there are positive betting trends for both teams here, with the Thunder at 12-2 ATS versus very good teams (6+ PPG margin) and 40-32 ATS versus great three-point shooting teams (6+ made threes per game). But the Clippers are certainly capable of payback with a 37-23 ATS mark when revenging a loss versus an opponent in the past two seasons and 20-10 ATS after an SU loss this season. SF Hedo Turkoglu (back) is the only player expected to miss this game for either team as he recovers from a back injury suffered in the first round against the Warriors.

The Thunder have always been an offensive threat with such prolific scorers on the team and have put up a solid 107.8 PPG (48% FG) over their past five games. SF Kevin Durant (30.8 PPG, 9.0 RPG, 4.3 APG, 1.3 BPG, 1.0 SPG in playoffs) failed to crack 30 points for the first time in four games on Tuesday as he went for 27 points on 6-of-22 shooting while adding 10 rebounds, five assists, one block and one steal. Although his shooting was poor, he hit three of his final five shots and was a perfect 12-for-12 from the free-throw line. PG Russell Westbrook (27.3 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 8.1 APG, 1.7 SPG in playoffs) has continued his tremendous play with his highest point total (38) of the postseason in Game 5 while also dishing out six assists, grabbing five rebounds and stealing three balls. Westbrook has recorded three steals in three of the five games in this second-round series, and is shooting an impressive 53% FG in the five games.

PF Serge Ibaka (12.8 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 2.3 BPG in playoffs) has not been too effective over the past two contests, averaging just 8.0 PPG, 6.0 RPG and 3.0 BPG while taking just 13 total shots. He has had trouble with fouls as well, finishing with four in game five and five in the previous two games. PG Reggie Jackson (10.4 PPG, 4.2 RPG in playoffs) was solid on Tuesday night off the bench with eight points, seven rebounds and two steals.

The Clippers were the top offensive team during the regular season and have now netted 109.7 PPG (47% FG) so far in the playoffs, while averaging 111.4 PPG (48% FG) this entire season when playing at home. PG Chris Paul (19.3 PPG, 10.3 APG, 3.0 SPG in playoffs) had his sixth straight double-double on Tuesday when he scored 17 points to go with 14 assists and four steals but fouled Westbrook while he was shooting a three at the end of the game and had two turnovers in the final minute of the game. Paul has had at least three steals in each of the past four games, but has been surprisingly poor from the charity stripe in this round, making just 13-of-19 (68%) after shooting 86% from the foul line in the regular season. PF Blake Griffin (23.7 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 1.3 SPG in playoffs) has averaged 24.2 PPG in this series and grabbed double-digit rebounds for the first time this postseason when he pulled down 17 in Game 5. He has a steal in each of the past four games and is averaging 1.2 BPG over these five contests against the Thunder.

C DeAndre Jordan (9.7 PPG, 12.3 RPG, 2.8 BPG in playoffs) was virtually a non-factor in Tuesday’s game, putting up a goose egg for points and blocks while grabbing just four rebounds as he fouled out after just 20 minutes on the court. He has averaged just 1.0 BPG in this series after swatting away 4.0 BPG in the opening round. SG Jamal Crawford (16.5 PPG in playoffs) has put up 19.0 PPG over his past three games but has shot just 20-for-56 FG (36%) in that time. SG J.J. Redick (13.1 PPG in playoffs) had 16 points in Tuesday’s loss after averaging just 5.5 PPG in the previous two contests.

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Pacers at Wizards: What Bettors Need to Know

Indiana Pacers at Washington Wizards (-4.5, 180)

The Washington Wizards emphatically announced that they had no intention of bowing out quietly in the Eastern Conference semifinals. The Wizards will attempt to keep the series going and put together a second straight dominating performance when they host the Indiana Pacers in Game 6 on Thursday. Marcin Gortat struggled through Games 3 and 4 but put up postseason career highs of 31 points and 16 rebounds as Washington controlled the inside in Game 5.

Gortat (16) had more rebounds than the entire Pacers team (15) at the end of the third quarter in Game 5 and the Wizards ended up with a 62-23 advantage on the glass. Indiana center Roy Hibbert, who came alive in three straight wins after being non-existent in the first eight games of the postseason, battled foul trouble in Game 5 and was no match for an aggressive Gortat. “We didn’t show up to play, man,” Pacers forward David West told reporters. “I don’t know if we thought we were going to come in here and these guys were going to roll over but they’re a very good team.”

ABOUT THE PACERS: Indiana certainly won’t be intimidated by the surroundings in Game 6 after taking Games 3 and 4 in Washington to gain control of the series. The Pacers suffered a big letdown on the interior in their return home and could not match the intensity of the Wizards in the elimination game. “We’ve got to play with the desperation they played with (on Tuesday),” Paul George told reporters. I knew they were going to bring it, we just didn’t mach what they brought.” Coach Frank Vogel was ready to quickly turn the page. “We’re still up 3-2,” Vogel said. “It’s one loss whether you lose by 20-something or you lose by one. It’s one loss. We got to go back and respond in Game 6.”

ABOUT THE WIZARDS: Gortat’s 13-of-15 performance from the field came as a big surprise after he totaled six points in the previous two games. “I was glad I was able to help my team this time,” Gortat told reporters. “I told them I want to contribute. I was an offensive decoy in Games 3 and 4. Now it was my turn to perform.” The “Polish Hammer” got plenty of help from John Wall, who buried three 3-pointers and scored 17 of his 27 points in the third quarter as Washington took control. “The pressure’s still on us,” Wall said. “It’s one game and you’re out.”


* Under is 6-2 in the last eight meetings.
* Underdog is 6-0 ATS in the last six meetings.
* Pacers are 4-0 ATS in their last four road games.
* Over is 4-1 in Wizards last five home games.


1. The Pacers’ 23 rebounds were the fewest in a playoff game in franchise history.

2. Washington is 1-3 at home in the playoffs.

3. Indiana is 6-0 all-time in series in which it held a 3-1 lead.

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Game of the Day: Thunder at Clippers

Oklahoma City Thunder at Los Angeles Clippers (-4.5, 211.5)

Oklahoma City and Los Angeles have traded epic comeback victories and the end result is that the Thunder have a chance to sew up the Western Conference semifinals when they visit the Clippers on Thursday. Oklahoma City saw a 16-point fourth-quarter lead evaporate in Game 4 before falling and then rebounded from a 13-point deficit over the final four minutes to rally for a win on Tuesday. Russell Westbrook hit three late free throws to cap a 38-point effort that gave the Thunder a 3-2 lead.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers sharply criticized the officiating crew over a ruling in which Oklahoma City retained possession of the ball prior to the game-winning sequence but also was aware his team collapsed while allowing the final eight points of the 105-104 defeat. “They made a horrendous call,” Rivers told reporters. “But at the end of the day, we created the situation. We put them in the situation by the turnovers, the bad fouls, the non-fouls. We did a lot ourselves to not win the game.” Thunder star Kevin Durant suffered through a 6-of-22 shooting performance despite finishing with 27 points and 10 rebounds.

LINE HISTORY: Books opened the Clippers as 4.5-point home faves for this matchup. The total opened 212, but has since dropped to 211.5.

INJURY REPORT: Clippers F Hedo Turkoglu (Questionable, back).

WHAT THE CAPPERS SAY: "The Clippers started strong in Game 5 as they had momentum from their big comeback victory in Game 4, but Los Angeles blew a 13-point lead in the final four minutes of the game for a heart-breaking loss. Chris Paul was particularly bad in the final minutes, so it will be interesting to see if he rebounds at home in Game 6." Covers Expert Steve Merril.

ABOUT THE THUNDER: Westbrook stepped up with his highest scoring game of the postseason with league MVP Durant struggling so mightily. He is averaging 29.6 points and 8.2 assists in the series and his decision-making on the type of shots he takes has been solid. Westbrook said Durant encouraged him to take control in Game 5 and coach Scott Brooks raved about his point guard’s performance. “He’s fierce, he’s fearless and he’s a winner,” Brooks told reporters. “There’s nothing else you can say other than those three things. That’s who he is. The guy competes for his team every single night.”

ABOUT THE CLIPPERS: Typically one of the league’s most reliable players, point guard Chris Paul was the goat of Game 5 after committing two late turnovers – one in which he didn’t get up a possible game-winning shot in the final seconds – and fouling Westbrook with 6.4 seconds left on a 3-point attempt. Paul referred to the conclusion as the “toughest thing I’ve been through basketball-wise” and took responsibility in the postgame session with reporters. “Everything that happened there at the end is on me,” Paul said. “The turnover with 17 seconds left, assuming they were going to foul, was probably the dumbest play I’ve ever made. To even put it in the official’s hand to call a foul on a 3 – it’s just bad basketball.”


* Road team is 6-1 ATS in the last seven meetings.
* Thunder are 3-0-1 ATS in their last four road games.
* Clippers are 0-4 ATS in their last four games following a ATS win.
* Over is 7-1 in Clippers last eight home games.

60 percent of Covers Consensus wagers are coming in on the Thunder.

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Thursday's Playoff Tips
By Kevin Rogers

The Heat and Spurs both advanced to the conference finals with victories last night, as two more teams have opportunities to move forward tonight. Miami and San Antonio both took care of business on its home court, but Indiana and Oklahoma City need a road win to advance tonight. On the against the spread front, the underdogs keep cashing with the Nets taking home the money as seven-point underdogs in the two-point defeat to the Heat, while the Blazers were blown out by the Spurs. Currently, underdogs own a 12-8 ATS record in the conference semifinals, improving to 43-26-1 ATS in the playoffs.

Pacers at Wizards (-4½, 180½)

In one of the weirder series to figure out in these playoffs, Indiana tries to close out Washington at the Verizon Center tonight after getting routed by the Wizards in Game 5. Washington stayed alive with a 102-79 destruction of Indiana on Tuesday to cash outright as 5½-point underdogs, marking the fourth time in five games of this series that the road ‘dog has won. The roller-coaster Pacers looked completely flat from the tip, scoring just 38 first half points, while getting outrebounded by the Wizards, 62-23, the third-largest rebounding disparity in playoff history.

After Roy Hibbert dominated the middle for the Pacers in Game 2, Washington big man Marcin Gortat scored a playoff career-high 31 points on an efficient 13-of-15 shooting, while pulling down 16 rebounds. On the flip side, Hibbert reverted back to his playoff self by putting up just four points on 2-of-7 shooting, the fifth time in the last 10 games in which the Indiana center has scored four points or less. Another key for the Wizards in Game 5 was the emergence of John Wall, who has struggled scoring at times in the playoffs. The former top pick scored a playoff career-best 27 points, matching his point total from the losses in Game 3 and Game 4 at home.

Playing at home for the Wizards has looked like a disappearing act for Randy Wittman’s team, who compiled point totals of 63 in Game 3 and 92 in Game 4. The game in which they scored 92 points actually went ‘over’ the total of 187, as Washington threw away a 19-point lead in a 95-92 defeat, while owning a 1-3 SU/ATS record at the Verizon Center in the playoffs.’s Chris David provides an easy way to figure out this matchup, “This series has been very simple to handicap, just grab the points with the road team. It’s 5-0 ATS after five games and you really have no reason to go against that trend on Thursday. Washington was a mediocre team in the regular season (22-19) and that carry-over has produced a 1-3 record in the postseason. As bad as Indiana looked in Game 5, it hasn’t dropped back-to-back games in the playoffs. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Washington extend the series but based on these trends, I’m leaning to the road underdog in this spot.”

The Pacers have covered all three games in the postseason as an underdog, while hitting the ‘under’ in four of five playoff contests away from Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Thunder at Clippers (-5, 212)

Oklahoma City and Los Angeles are reenacting the end of “Rocky II” throughout this series with each team going back and forth and falling to the mat. However, the Thunder looks like the team that will get up last, heading to Staples Center tonight trying to move on to the Western Conference Finals with a win over the Clippers.

The Clippers rallied from a 22-point deficit to stun the Thunder in Game 4, but the Thunder turned the tables on Los Angeles in Game 5 by erasing a seven-point deficit in the final 45 seconds to pull off a shocking 105-104 victory to take a 3-2 series lead. Russell Westbrook continued a strong playoff effort with 38 points, including three free throws after getting fouled late by Chris Paul. The Thunder overcame a poor shooting night from MVP Kevin Durant (6-of-22), while OKC didn’t cover as 5½-point favorites, marking the third straight cover by the underdog in this series.

David says there is no definite side to back after the final minute meltdowns in Games 4 and 5, “After watching both teams have monumental collapses in the last two games, I’m a little gun shy to back either squad in Game 6. However, I do believe the adjusted series price is too inflated. Most shops have the Clippers listed as a 3/1 choice to rally from a 3-2 deficit and advance. Rather than give 4½ points in Game 6, I’ll take those odds and hope for the straight up win. If L.A. does force a Game 7, you can let it ride with the visitor or get out and play Oklahoma City on the money-line, which should be -220 or -240, give or take a few cents. Either way, you’ll have options available if the Clips force Game 7 and if you’re very creative, you can wait on the hedge and place some Live Betting wagers come Saturday as the game begins.”

The Clippers have covered just two of six playoff games at Staples Center, while going 5-1 to the ‘over’ at home. Doc Rivers’ team is just 2-5 ATS in the last seven games off a road loss, which includes a 118-112 defeat to the Thunder in Game 3 of this series.

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Thursday's NBA Playoff Picks
By: Michael Robinson

The Indiana Pacers looked back on track before their Game 5 disaster. They have another chance to eliminate the Washington Wizards on Thursday night, right before the Oklahoma City Thunder try to do the same to the L.A. Clippers in their Game 6.

Indiana Pacers at Washington Wizards (-4.5, 181)

The Pacers have been an enigma since their regular season swoon in March, but finally looked straightened out with a 3-1 series lead heading into Tuesday's home game. The result couldn't have been any worse, a 102-79 blowout loss as 5.5-point favorites.

The road team has owned this series at 4-1 straight-up and 5-0 against the spread.

Coach Frank Vogel's guys have no one to blame but themselves. They allowed 18 offensive boards and got outrebounded 62-23 overall. There is no excuse for that big a differential and simply points to a lack of effort.

Center Roy Hibbert has been Indiana's key player all series, averaging 19.7 PPG and 7.7 RPG in the three wins and 2.0 PPG and 1.0 RPG in the two losses. Marcin Gortat completely outplayed him last game, scoring 31 points on 13-of-15 shooting from the field, and adding 16 rebounds.

The Wizards have the clear momentum and a great chance to extend this series to a Game 7 on Sunday. Normally the home court would be a great advantage, but they lost both Game 3 (85-63 as 5-point favorites) and Game 4 (95-92 as 3.5-point favorites) at the Verizon Center.

Washington is 1-3 SU and ATS at home this postseason, while Indiana is 4-1 SU and ATS away.

Point guard John Wall is the key player for Washington, scoring 27 points in Game 5 on 11-of-20 shooting from the field. He averaged 11.5 PPG in the first four, shooting 31.4 percent. Wall has a problem with turnovers (17 over the last three games) and needs to limit those while still being aggressive offensively.

The Linemakers' lean: The Pacers are a perplexing bunch -- who knows which team will show up? But they're the better team than the Wizards, who have not been a profitable play at home. And why even consider the favorite in this series, as the dog is 5-0 so far? Indiana should actually be a 1-point favorite at Washington, according to The Linemakers' Kenny White, so the points here are just too good to pass up. We'll also make a correlation play on the UNDER, which is 4-1 in Pacers road games this postseason.

Pacers plus the points and UNDER are the plays.

Oklahoma City Thunder at L.A. Clippers (-4.5, 211.5)

This series has had more twists and turns than a roller coaster, and the only sure thing is that no lead is safe. The Clippers rallied from a 16-point deficit in the fourth quarter to win Game 4 (101-99 as 5-point home favorites) and the Thunder rallied from a late 13-point deficit to win Game 5 (105-104 as 5.5-point home favorites).

The road team is 3-0 ATS in the last three games and 4-1 ATS this series.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers is still fuming from a controversial out-of-bounds call last game. He will definitely be fined by the league for his postgame tirade, likely designed to work the refs for a crucial call on Thursday.

Los Angeles (down 3-2) needs this win to save its season and will look for a bounce back effort from Chris Paul. The point guard had two key turnovers in the final 14 seconds and also fouled Russell Westbrook on a three-point attempt (he made all three).

Paul is one of the NBA's most competitive players and has to hate that his meltdown came in the same game that Westbrook exploded for 38 points. The Clippers should win on Thursday if Paul gets the better of that point guard battle. Keeping big men DeAndre Jordan and Glen Davis out of foul trouble is also key after getting outscored 44-22 in the paint.

Oklahoma City needs a much better shooting night from Kevin Durant after going six-of-22 last game. Scoring depth is a concern with Serge Ibaka averaging just 8.0 PPG the last two. He needs to be more aggressive as the third scoring option.

The OVER is 5-1 in the Clippers' home playoff games, with the UNDER coming last time in Game 4. The 200 combined points scored stayed below the 213.5 point total.

The Linemakers' lean: Staples Center has erupted since the Donald Sterling controversy surfaced, giving the Clippers one of the biggest home-court edges in the playoffs. But the dog is 4-1 so far in this series, and it's extremely difficult to lay points when these teams battle.

Instead, we're looking at the total. L.A. loves to push the tempo at home, and after two straight UNDERs, the number is lower than it's been all series. Value is on the OVER, and that's where our money will be Thursday night.

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