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Clippers, Thunder Prepare For Game 5

Chris Paul and the Clippers came up big at home in Game 4. Can they do the same when the series switches to Oklahoma City on Tuesday?

Chris Paul and the Clippers came up big at home in Game 4. Can they do the same when the series switches to Oklahoma City on Tuesday?

After pulling off an unthinkable comeback to level the series in Game 4, the Los Angeles Clippers will look to take a series lead with a road win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night.

Tip-off at Chesapeake Energy Arena is scheduled for 9:30 p.m. ET.

Sunday’s startling come-from-behind victory changed the whole dynamic of the best-of-seven Western Conference semifinals.

Playing at home, the Clippers trailed 29-7 in the first quarter and looked dead in the water. A slow but solid comeback though saw the team pull within 12 points at the end of the third quarter, but the Thunder still looked as though they’d be leaving the City of Angels with one foot in the Western Conference finals.

The Clippers had other ideas though. Chris Paul defensively locked down Kevin Durant in the fourth quarter while Darren Collison scored 10 points in the last three minutes of the game. The Clippers completed a 38-24 fourth period to escape with a 101-99 victory, leveling the series in the process.

Now they’ll look to carry whatever momentum they earned in that game with them to Oklahoma City.

Blake Griffin, who scored 25 points and pulled down nine boards despite facing foul trouble in Game 4, will play a big part in the Clippers bid to upset the Thunder, both on Tuesday and in the series.

Griffin has been bruised, battered and bloodied in the series, and took a shot to the groin from Serge Ibaka in Sunday’s game. But while his frustration is evident, at this point he’s keeping a cool head, which is exactly what head coach Doc Rivers wants from his All-Star forward.

Rivers told the Los Angeles Times that he had used Zach Randolph as an example when explaining the importance of Griffin remaining in the game. Randolph was suspended from Game 7 of the first round for rucking with the Thunder, leaving the Memphis Grizzlies to come up short in the series.

The Clippers’ guards could also have a big role to play. The combination of Chris Paul, Jamal Crawford, and Darren Collison was responsible for 59 of the Clippers’ 101 points, and all of that with J.J. Redick struggling. Paul was defensively important too, and could be asked to guard Durant again.

For Oklahoma City, the plan will be to avoid another monumental collapse. Having played near-perfect ball in the first quarter, the Thunder found itself out of rhythm and out of sorts later in the game.

Some are suggesting that Kendrick Perkins should play more minutes down the stretch. Perkins scored just one point in Game 4, but pulled down six rebounds and manipulated the Clipper forwards to the next level. Ever the instigator, Perkins’ presence on the court is always accompanied by an asterisk: can he, like Griffin, keep a cool head?

The Thunder meanwhile will once again turn to Durant and Russell Westbrook to apply the offensive pressure to the Clippers. Durant had 40 in Sunday’s loss, and for the first three-and-a-half quarters was unstoppable. Westbrook added 27 points and eight assists. Another night like that for the dynamic duo and the Clippers could be in for another long night.

Los Angeles Clippers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder odds for 05/13/2014

Oklahoma City (-226) opened as the favorite over Los Angeles (+202) when the moneyline was unveiled on Monday. Depending which sportsbook you choose, the gap between the two is currently wider and narrower than that.

The Clippers have dropped six of their last nine trips to Oklahoma City, including last week’s Game 2 of the series. The side has also lost four of its last six road games stretching back to the regular season. Oklahoma City meanwhile has won 14 of its last 18 home games.

The spread opened at 5 and has stretched to 5.5 ahead of tip-off.

Oklahoma City has covered the spread in three straight games and five of the last six dating back to the first round. The Clippers meanwhile are 3-8-0 ATS this postseason and have covered the spread just once on the road (Game 1 of this series).

However, the Clippers are 14-6-0 ATS in their last 20 trips to Chesapeake Energy Arena, which makes them more than worth a little consideration heading into this one.

The total opened at 212.5 and has climbed to 213 with some sportsbooks.

While both sides favored the over during the first round of the playoffs, they’ve flip-flopped between the over and under this series.

11 of the last 16 head-to-head meetings between the two sides have seen the over pay out, as have six of the last eight games the sides have played in OKC. Only Sunday’s Game 3 failed to reach 213 points.

Game 6 of the best-of-seven series is scheduled to take place at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Thursday (time TBC).


John Wall and the Wizards will look to stave off elimination.

John Wall and the Wizards will look to stave off elimination.

Washington Wizards at Indiana Pacers – Game5

Indiana leads series 3-1

7:00 – Tuesday’s other games sees the Washington Wizards looking to stay alive as they make the trip to Indianapolis to take on the Indiana Pacers in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

After winning the series opener, the Wizards have dropped three straight and are now in danger of witnessing their best season since 1982 come to an end. They’ll look to find a way to beat a Pacers side that is showing signs of returning to the defensive behemoth it was for the first half of the season.

Odds & Trends

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