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Thunder lead series 3-1
The Oklahoma City Thunder have made the defending champion Golden State Warriors look like a lottery team in the last two games and are on the verge of advancing to the NBA Finals. The Warriors will try to stave off elimination and pull within 3-2 in the series when they host Game 5 on Thursday.
The Thunder have been more aggressive, more athletic, faster and much better at executing on both ends of the floor in 3 1/2 of the first four games of the series and scored 72 first-half points in each of the last two contests while winning both by an average of 26 points. “You’re not always going to play a perfect game,” Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan told reporters. “You have to have some resiliency and some toughness and some fight to you. I think our team has it.” The Warriors looking for some resiliency as they attempt to stay in the series and MVP Stephen Curry insisted that the team wasn’t done. “The series isn’t over,” Curry told reporters. “We’ve got to believe in ourselves. It’s obviously frustration. It’s a terrible feeling once again not stepping up and being ourselves and playing our game. But I think we’re a special team. This isn’t how we’re going to go out.”
TV: 9 p.m. ET, TNT
LINE HISTORY: The Warriors opened as 7.5-point favorites, with their backs against the wall for Game 5. The books dropped the line down to -7 on Wednesday morning and that is where it sits at the time of publication of this preview. The total opened at 221 and has dropped sharply down to 219.5 during the opening 12 hours on the board. Check out the complete line history here.
ABOUT THE THUNDER (66-31, 47-49-1 ATS, 46-51 O/U): Oklahoma City stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook have been strong in the series, and Westbrook filled up the boxscore with his first triple-double of the postseason with 36 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in the 118-94 Game 4 triumph. “Russell plays with incredible passion,” Donovan told reporters. “He has such great force and great will. He’s a really high basketball IQ player. He sees a lot of things going on out there. His effort and his energy throughout the course of the entire game, with our team, was terrific.” Westbrook is averaging 27.3 points, 11.8 assists and 3.8 steals in the series.
ABOUT THE WARRIORS (82-14, 53-41-2 ATS, 51-44-1 O/U): Curry had one burst in the third quarter of Game 2 that propelled Golden State to its lone win in the series but went 5-of-21 from 3-point range in the last two games and committed six turnovers in Game 4. The MVP could use more help from All-Star Draymond Green, who heard boos all night from Oklahoma City fans on Tuesday after avoiding a suspension for kicking Thunder center Steven Adams in the groin and matched Curry with six turnovers while going 1-of-7 from the floor. “I bring the energy to this team, and I have not been that,” Green told reporters. “I think our energy goes as my energy goes, and I’ve been awful. … At the end of the day, I know I’ve got to be better in Game 5.”
* Thunder are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games overall.
* Warriors are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 home games.
* Under is 5-1 in Thunder last 6 games following a straight up win.
* Under is 5-1 in Warriors last 6 games following a ATS loss.
* Home team is 10-1-1 ATS in the last 12 meetings.
COVERS CONSENSUS: The early returns for the Covers Consensus are 52 percent of the picks on the Thunder and 66 percent of the Covers’ wagers on the Over. View full consensus data here.
DANCE TEAM BATTLE:
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