While Golden State continues its first round playoff battle with Houston, the Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs have already moved on. In one of the most anticipated playoff series of the 2016 NBA Season, San Antonio battles Oklahoma City starting this Saturday, April 30.
The Spurs looked great when dispatching of a beat-up and overmatched Memphis team 4 to 0 in Round 1. Oklahoma City looked equally great when taking care of Dallas 4 to 1 in their first round playoff series. Who will win in what’s expected to be the most competitive series of the 2016 NBA Playoffs? Keep reading to find out my take!
Oklahoma City Thunder Vs San Antonio Spurs NBA Playoff Best-Of-Seven Series Expert Pick
Why Bet On The Oklahoma City Thunder To Beat The Spurs
The key takeaway from Oklahoma City’s 4 to 1 series win over Dallas is that the Thunder didn’t need both Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook to dominate. One or the other had to dominate in each win, but both didn’t have to dominate for OKC to beat Dallas. That’s important because other players on Oklahoma City’s team will have to really step it up if the Thunder hopes to have any shot of upsetting the Spurs in 7 games.
In the Thunder’s 118 to 109 win over the Mavericks on April 23, Enes Kanter scored 28 points and grabbed 3 boards. Dion Waiters scored 12 points grabbed 4 boards and dished 4 assists. Steve Adams had 14 points, 8 rebounds and 2 assists. Serge Ibaka, who was great throughout the series save for Game 5, scored 15 points and grabbed 5 rebounds. If Oklahoma City can continue to get great production from players like Kanter, Ibaka, Adams and Waiters, they’ll have a shot to take down San Antonio
Why Bet On The San Antonio Spurs To Beat The Thunder
The Spurs have won 6 games in a row. They are 4 and 2 ATS in those 6 games. San Antonio dominated Memphis on the defensive end in every single one of their wins over the Grizzlies in Round 1. If the Spurs are going to beat Oklahoma City, they’ll have to be great defensively again. San Antonio is ranked first in the NBA in points per game at 92.9. They are ranked first in the NBA in 3-point percentage allowed at 33.1%.
Those numbers are great. Unfortunately for the Spurs, they haven’t been able to shut down Oklahoma City’s offense. San Antonio lost 106 to 112 to Oklahoma City on Oct. 28 last year. In game 2 against the Thunder, San Antonio held OKC to 85 points in a 93 to 85 win. But in the third game between the 2 teams, Oklahoma City beat San Antonio 111 to 92.
My Thunder Vs Spurs Best-Of-Seven Series Pick
San Antonio, as I expected, sort of played possum throughout the regular season. In the 111 to 92 loss to the Thunder, LaMarcus Aldridge, Kawhi Leonard, Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili sat on the bench. That won’t happen in this series.
When the 2 teams played each other straight up, both at full strength, San Antonio easily handled OKC 93 to 85. In that game, the Spurs held the Thunder to 38.3% from the field and 11.1% from three. At least 4 of the first 6 games during this series should go that way with San Antonio’s defense frustrating Oklahoma City’s offense.
San Antonio will give legitimate minutes to 10 to 12 players on their team while OKC is likely to go only 6 to 7 deep. The Spurs have a chance of tiring out Westbrook and Durant in the series. I like the Spurs to win it.
Pick: San Antonio in 6 games