Clippers Shoot Down Thunder, Take Series Lead

Chris Paul and the sharp-shooting Clippers defeated Oklahoma City in Game 1, Monday.

Chris Paul and the sharp-shooting Clippers defeated Oklahoma City in Game 1, Monday.

The Los Angeles Clippers struck early and often Monday as they derailed the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals.

Electing to stick with their own run-and-gun offense rather than the physical play that caused the Thunder problems in the opening round against the Memphis Grizzlies, the Clippers built up an early lead and never looked back.

The visiting team hit 7-of-10 three point shots in the opening quarter, building up a 39-25 lead at the end of the first. From there, the team continued its hot shooting and maintained a 20-point lead until garbage time.

Chris Paul hit a career-high eight three-pointers, burying his first seven attempts, en route to 32 points. The All-Star point guard threw in 10 assists for good measure.

Blake Griffin tallied 23 points to go alongside 17 from Jamal Craford and 12 from J.J. Redick, as the Clippers carved up the Thunder defense. The Clippers finished the game shooting 54.9 percent, including 15-of-29 from beyond the arc.

Oklahoma City got 29 points from Russell Westbrook, who at times looked frustrated and disheartened in equal measure. Kevin Durant added 25 while Serge Ibaka put in 12 to go along with six boards and a pair of blocks.

Ultimately, the Clippers defeated the Thunder 122-105 to take a 1-0 lead in the series.

Thunder head coach Scott Brooks, who made important changes to his lineup during the final two games of the opening series against the Grizzlies, will now need to look at finding ways to stop the dominance of Paul and the sharp-shooting of a Clippers side that has taken home-court advantage away from the Thunder, at least for the next week or so.

The Clippers victory saw the side cover the spread (+5.5) for just the third time this season. Beating the spread is something the Los Angeles outfit has gotten used to in Oklahoma City; the Clippers are now 14-5-0 ATS in their last 19 trips to Chesapeake Energy Arena.

As expected, the total (211.5) went over, a trend that has become commonplace with both teams this postseason.

Game 2 of the series is scheduled to take place at Chesapeake Energy Arena on Wednesday (9:30 p.m. ET). You can find odds and trends here.

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While the Clippers were earning an upset road victory in OKC, the Washington Wizards were doing likewise against the Indiana Pacers.

The Wizards defeated the Pacers 102-96 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, getting 25 points from Bradley Beal and 22 from Trevor Ariza, while the rest of the starting lineup scored in double digits.

Solid defense down the stretch helped keep the Wizards in front of the Pacers, who got a zero-point, zero-rebound effort from the maligned Roy Hibbert. Pacers head coach Frank Vogel will need to make drastic changes come Game 2.

The victory marked the first time Washington had won a second round playoff game since Frank Johnson and Spencer Hayward led the side to a 103-102 victory over the Boston Celtics way back in 1982.

Game 2 is scheduled to take place at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Wednesday (7:00 p.m. ET). You can find odds and trends here.

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The Miami Heat and Brooklyn Nets begin their series on Tuesday.

The Miami Heat and Brooklyn Nets begin their series on Tuesday.

Brooklyn Nets at Miami Heat – Game 1

7:00 – After Paul Pierce’s last second block sent the team into the second round, the Brooklyn Nets now face the unenviable task of facing the Miami Heat. Game 1 comes live from American Airlines Arena in Miami on Tuesday night.

The Nets defeated the Heat 4-0 during the regular season, winning three games by a solitary point and taking the fourth in double overtime.

The defending champions – currently the 7/5 favorite to win the NBA title – made short work of the Charlotte Bobcats, and have been idle for the last eight days. Will that long layoff prove detrimental or will the Nets’ demanding seven-game series with the Toronto Raptors have left the team ripe for the pickings?

Odds & Trends

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Portland Trail Blazers at San Antonio Spurs – Game 1

9:30 – After seeing off the Dallas Mavericks in dominant fashion during Sunday’s Game 7, the San Antonio Spurs remain home to host the fifth-seeded Portland Trail Blazers in Game 1 on Tuesday.

The Trail Blazers enter the series as a heavy underdog, with the longest odds (9/1) of winning the Western Conference and joint-longest odds (25/1) of winning the NBA championship. But Terry Stotts’ side has already upset the Houston Rockets this postseason. Can they now shock the world by upsetting the heavily-favored Spurs?

The Blazers defeated the Spurs in their first two meetings during the regular season, while the Spurs took the second two meetings.

Odds & Trends

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