Wednesday's NBA playoff action: What bettors need to know

Houston Rockets at Oklahoma City Thunder (-11, 212)

Thunder lead series 1-0

The Oklahoma City Thunder were so dominant in the opening game of their first-round series with Houston that it won’t be a surprise if the Rockets get swept. Oklahoma City looks to take a 2-0 lead when it hosts Houston on Wednesday and matching its stellar Game 1 performance will be tough. “They did a good job of following the game plan, executing it, and playing as hard as they could possibly play,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said after Sunday’s 120-91 victory.

The Rockets traveled back to Houston in between games and will hope they are much more composed in Game 2. Eighth-seeded Houston looked overwhelmed by the top-seeded Thunder at the outset and then was mauled in the second half. “There were definitely nerves,” Rockets guard James Harden said afterward. “Not just for me, but also for my teammates that were going through their playoff game on the road.” Not only did Houston have trouble dealing with Thunder stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook but power forward Serge Ibaka scored 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting.

TV: 7 p.m. ET, TNT, Comcast SportsNet Houston, Fox Sports Oklahoma

ABOUT THE ROCKETS: Point guard Jeremy Lin has trouble shadowing athletic opponents and was badly outplayed by Westbrook in Game 1. Lin had four points on 1-of-7 shooting and committed four turnovers. “He’s a young kid and this was his first playoff game,” Rockets coach Kevin McHale said in defense of Lin after the contest. “I think that sometimes the expectation levels are so high. He’ll be better the next game. He’s a tough kid and he’ll bounce back.” Lin had plenty of company when it came to players who struggled as Harden (20 points on 6-of-19 shooting) was the lone starter to score in double digits.

ABOUT THE THUNDER: Westbrook operated at will in the opener and fell two rebounds shy of a triple-double. He had 19 points and 10 assists despite not playing in the final quarter. “When we have an open man, you have to pass the ball to the open man,” Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks said. “Russell, he almost had a triple-double in the first half. His ball movement, his rebounding and ability to get to the basket was very good.” The Thunder got 47 points from its bench with veteran guard Derek Fisher sinking three 3-pointers while playing 12 minutes.

TRENDS

*The over is 4-1 in the last five meetings.
*Houston is 1-6 ATS in its last seven games in Oklahoma City.
*Houston is 1-6 ATS in their last seven.
*Oklahoma City is 17-6 in their last 23 at home.
*Under is 6-1-1 in Thunder's last eight home games.

BUZZER BEATERS

 
1. Oklahoma City’s 29-point win marked its third rout of the Rockets this season. The Thunder notched regular-season victories of 30 and 22 points.

2. Houston’s 91-point outing in the opener was 15 points below its season average.

3. The Thunder are 18-5 in playoff games held in Oklahoma City.

Atlanta Hawks at Indiana Pacers (-7, 187)

Pacers lead series 1-0

The Indiana Pacers had an easy time in Game 1 thanks to a huge free throw advantage and an inspired turn from Paul George. The Atlanta Hawks will try to even things up when they visit the Pacers for Game 2 on Wednesday. George recorded the second postseason triple-double in Indiana franchise history with 23 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists on Sunday and was part of a defensive effort that left the Hawks with few options.

Atlanta coach Larry Drew was upset with how his team failed to respond to the Pacers’ physicality in Game 1 and called them out to reporters on Monday. “That team physically manhandled us,” Drew said. “This is playoff basketball. That cannot happen. Absolutely cannot happen.” The Pacers had ended their season in a bit of a funk defensively but have been one of the best teams in the league all season at controlling the pace. Indiana doesn’t mind slowing it down and playing inside-out with David West and Roy Hibbert in the post but found its most success with George slashing the lane and getting to the line on Sunday.

TV:
7:30 p.m. ET, Sports South (Atlanta), Fox Sports Indiana, NBATV

ABOUT THE HAWKS: Atlanta forward Josh Smith suffered a sprained right ankle in Game 1 and missed practice on Monday. The Hawks’ leading scorer, who collected 15 points and eight rebounds on Sunday, is hopeful that he will play on Wednesday. The Pacers limited Smith and Al Horford to a combined 29 points in Game 1 while Jeff Teague led Atlanta with 21 points and seven assists. Teague got to the free throw line six times in the contest but the Hawks totaled only 14 attempts, making seven. The lack of aggression upset Drew. “We didn’t come up with the big plays,” Drew said. “We didn’t come up with the hustle plays, the energy plays…They clearly outworked us.”

ABOUT THE PACERS: George was given the award as the NBA’s Most Improved Player on Tuesday and will likely be on the shortlist for Defensive Player of the Year as well. The 22-year-old went 17-for-18 from the free throw line in Game 1 and little trouble getting into the lane against Smith, Kyle Korver or anyone else the Hawks threw at the swingman defensively. Indiana put six players in double figures in Game 1 and continued to pound the ball inside to Hibbert even though he went 7-for-17 from the field. The commitment to the post helped to open things on the outside for George Hill and Lance Stephenson. George and Stephenson both played over 40 minutes on Sunday but the playoff schedule will allow for two days off in between Games 1 and 2, and another two full days of rest before Game 3.

TRENDS

*The over is 8-1 in Atlanta's last nine road games.
*Indiana is 1-6 ATS in its last seven games.
*The favorite is 20-6 ATS in the last 26 meetings in this series.
*The over is 5-1 in Indiana's last six overall.

BUZZER BEATERS


1. Indiana outrebounded Atlanta 48-32 in Game 1.

2. Horford grabbed six rebounds on Sunday, matching his lowest total since March 3.

3. The series will shift back to Atlanta for Game 3 on Saturday.

Los Angeles Lakers at San Antonio Spurs (-8.5, 186.5)


Spurs lead series 1-0

San Antonio Spurs big man Tim Duncan called teammate Manu Ginobili the "X-factor" entering the postseason, and the future Hall of Famer's words proved prophetic in Game 1 against the Los Angeles Lakers. Ginobili, who missed nine of the final 10 regular-season games due to a hamstring injury, scored 18 points and sparked a decisive run to help San Antonio to a 91-79 win. The Spurs will look to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-7 series Wednesday at home.

The Lakers finished the regular-season on a five-game win streak, but their offense looked lost without superstar Kobe Bryant. Los Angeles got plenty of production from the inside tandem of center Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol, who combined for 36 points and 31 rebounds. Points from the perimeter were hard to come by, thought, as Steve Nash, Steve Blake and Metta World Peace combined to shoot 13-for-37. "Both of the Steves had some good looks," Howard said. "I think they will knock down those shots in this game."

TV: 9:30 p.m. ET, TNT, Fox Sports Southwest (San Antonio), Time Warner Cable SportsNet (Los Angeles)

ABOUT THE LAKERS: Point guard Nash is clearly not 100 percent and looked rusty after sitting out the final eight games of the regular season with hip, leg and back injuries. He scored 16 points on 6-of-15 shooting and had just three assists while struggling to get the team into an offensive flow. "He's not having the explosive stuff he has, but he's always a threat on the perimeter," Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said. "He has a better shot at shooting well than anyone else I know, so we'll take our chances." D'Antoni conceded that Los Angeles is trying to make an abrupt transition to an "inside-out" offense that relies on the scoring of Howard and Gasol.

ABOUT THE SPURS: Ginobili pronounced himself fine one day after his efficient Game 1 outing that produced 18 points in only 19 minutes. "It's just his basketball IQ," Duncan said of Ginobili. "Just him being on the floor brings a different energy, a different movement to the entire team." It was the first time since March 27 that the Spurs had their Big 3 of Duncan, Ginobili and Tony Parker on the floor for extended minutes and erased the memory of seven losses in their last 10 games. Matt Bonner joined Ginobili in double figures off the bench with 10 points, giving San Antonio a 40-10 edge in scoring among the reserves. Duncan had 17 points and 10 boards in the opener.

TRENDS

*San Antonio is 5-16 ATS in its last 21.
*Lakers are 2-6 ATS in their last eight on the road.
*The under is 20-6 in the last 26 Lakers-Spurs games.

BUZZER BEATERS


1. The Lakers are 34-1 when winning Game 1 in the first round and 4-9 when they drop the series opener.

2. Duncan has 139 postseason double-doubles and trails Shaquille O'Neal by three for No. 3 all time.

3. Lakers backup G Jodie Meeks did not practice Tuesday after rolling an ankle in the series opener.

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Posted by BigJube
1 year ago

Agreed!
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Posted by tomnolan
1 year ago

rockets have no chance against okc, lakers have no chance against the spurs and the hawks have no chance against the pacers!!!!!
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Top Response

Posted by BigJube
1 year ago

"Agreed! "