The Thunder Roll

Published on 29-Apr-2013 by Steve Soprano

Basketball - NBA    NBA Daily Stake

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The Thunder Roll

Two of the three teams in the NBA Playoffs with a chance to sweep did so on Sunday.

The Heat and Spurs knocked off the Bucks and Lakers respectively, with only the Boston Centics able to avoid the brooms and survive in overtime against the Knicks, forcing a fifth game in that series.

Tonight, another team has a chance to run the table, as the Oklahoma City Thunder look to finish off the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center in Houston. Bovada has the Thunder as a slight point-and-a-half favorite, but look for the Rockets to look like a team running on fumes tonight at Toyota Center.

Houston has to be both physically and mentally fatigued in this series; they've been constantly forced to play catch-up. Perhaps even more demoralizing was Saturday's furious comeback -- overcoming a 26 point deficit to take a lead late in the fourth quarter -- only to watch the Thunder finish strong and claim a 104-101 victory.

That was after the Rockets made a valliant effort at a comeback during Game 2 in Oklahoma City only come up short, as well.  Speaking of Game 2, that was when Rockets guard Jeremy Lin suffered a bruised chest muscle that limited him to 18 minutes and just two points Saturday.  His status is unknown for Monday, and his absence could make the Rockets' matters worse.

The Thunder won't be feeling sorry for Houston on the injury front, having lost star point guard Russell Westbrook for the rest of the post-season after injuring his knee in Game 2. But inspite of his absence, the Thunder still found a way as coach Scott Brooks went deep into his playbook and let Kevin Durant run the offense oftentimes Saturday night. Durant scored 41 as the Thunder won by three. Needless to say, Brooks's plan worked. 

Putting it all together, the Rockets have played catch-up almost this whole series; when they did catch up and grab the lead Saturday, they still lost; and now one of their key players is banged up in Lin.  The series chips are seriously stacked against them, and it's very hard to see them coming away on top Monday. Call it a '4-Runner' for the Thunder in Toyota Center, and the Rockets can officially put their season in Park tonight.

My Pick:  Oklahoma City Thunder     -1.5



Result ... Houston 105 Oklahoma City 103     Rockets cover