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Thunder, Clippers Commence Second Round

The Western Conference semifinals between the Thunder and Clippers begins on Monday.

The Western Conference semifinals between the Thunder and Clippers begins on Monday.

After both teams successfully navigated tricky Game 7s in the first round, the Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Clippers will lock horns on Monday night for the first game of a best-of-seven Western Conference semifinals series.

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

After finishing the regular season with the Western Conference’s second seed, Oklahoma City fended off a resilient Memphis Grizzlies side that was always going to play tougher than its No. 7 seed.

The Grizzlies, who owned a 3-2 lead after five games, forced the Thunder into a win or go home situation. The side from OKC gladly accepted the challenge and, thanks to offensive onslaughts from Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, sent the Grizzlies packing.

Durant, expected to receive MVP honors shortly, finished Saturday’s decisive Game 7 with 33 points, while Westbrook notched a triple-double (27pts, 10rebs, 16asts), as the Thunder exorcised last year’s second round exit to the Grizzlies.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles managed to fight through the controversy caused by owner Donald Sterling to earn a Game 7 win over the Golden State Warriors.

In a game that saw 13 players score in double figures, the Clippers defeated the Warriors 126-121 at Staples Center on Saturday to advance to the second round for just the third time since the franchise relocated to California in the late 70s.

Blake Griffin (24pts), Chris Paul (22), Jamal Crawford (22) and J.J. Redick (20) all reached the 20-point marker as the Clippers’ run-and-gun offense was forced into a full-on dogfight by the upstart Warriors.

Now the Clippers will look to get the better of another of the league’s highest scoring outfits.

Despite the Thunder arriving in the NBA back in 1968 (as the Seattle SuperSonics) and the Clippers joining in 1970 (as the Buffalo Braves), this series marks the first time these two franchises have met in the postseason. The Clippers woeful Californian years can shoulder the blame for that.

The two sides met four times during the regular season, splitting the head-to-head 2-2, with each team picking up a win at home and on the road. But the regular season is a very different beast to the postseason.

Online sportsbook Bovada also expects an OKC victory: the Thunder (-190) is favored over the Clippers (+165) on the latest series price.

The Los Angeles Times ran a brief position-by-position matchup on Sunday, and came down in favor of the Thunder taking a seven-game series.

The matchup between Blake Griffin and Serge Ibaka is one that’s drawing a whole heap of attention in the build up to Monday’s opener. Can the dunk machine get past the league’s best shot blocker? And can the Clippers pull off an upset and go boldly where no Clippers side has gone before; the Western Conference finals?

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

Oklahoma City (-210) opened as the favorite over Los Angeles (+180) on the moneyline. Most sportsbooks currently have the Thunder with a bigger advantage.

Oklahoma City is 13-3 in its last 16 home games, and has won five of its last seven against the Clippers in Chesapeake Energy Arena.

The spread opened at 5 and has climbed slightly to 5.5

The two sides each covered the spread twice in their four-game regular season head-to-head series, once at home and once on the road.

Oklahoma City finished the first round 3-3-1 ATS while the Clippers went 2-5-0 ATS.

The Clippers are 13-5-0 ATS in their last 18 trips to Oklahoma City.

The total opened at 211.5 and has risen slightly to 212.

Both the under and over paid out twice during the regular season head-to-head, with the total going over in both of the Clippers’ wins and under in both Thunder victories.

The over paid out in five of Oklahoma City’s seven first round games against Memphis, and five of the Clippers’ seven games against Golden State.

The total has gone over in nine of the last 12 games between the Clippers and Thunder, and five of the last six the two sides have played in Oklahoma City.

Game 2 of the series is scheduled to take place at Chesapeake Energy Arena on Wednesday (9:30 p.m. ET).

For a full list of today’s NBA Playoffs odds, click here.

For the latest NBA futures odds, click here.

For the latest NBA team prop bets, click here.

For the latest NBA player prop bets, click here.

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