Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder struck back with a win over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 3 on Thursday. Can they do it again and tie the series today? The first ever playoff game for Thunder in Oklahoma City on Thursday ended just the way Thunder fans had hoped. The Thunder cut the Lakers series lead to 2-1 with a 101-96 win as 3.5-point favorites. Kevin Durant started off ice cold in the shooting department, missing his first seven shots, but hit his shots late when it counted to lead the Thunder with 29 points and 19 rebounds. Russell Westbrook added 27 points and eight rebounds and James Harden delivered 18 points off the bench after going pointless in the first two games of the series.
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Durant was more than a scorer for the Thunder in the win. In the fourth quarter he began defending against Lakers star Kobe Bryant and it clearly worked as Bryant shot 2-of-10 in the final 12 minutes of the fourth. Bryant finished the game with 24 points and eight assists, while Pau Gasol had 17 points, 15 rebounds and six assists. The Thunder head into today’s game as a 2-point favorite. In their last 10 games at home they’re 7-3 SU, but only 5-5 ATS. There are three other games on the NBA playoff schedule today including Orlando at Charlotte, Phoenix at Portland and Atlanta at Milwaukee. Charlotte returns home for Game 3 against the Magic today after dropping the first two games in Orlando. Orlando cracked Charlotte 92-77 as a 9-point favorite in Game 2 as all of their starters scored in double figures. Vince Carter led the Magic with 19 points and unless the Bobcats get reenergized at home this series has four-game sweep written all over it. The Bobcats may be back home today, but they’re still a 2-point underdog. The Suns can take a commanding 3-1 series lead with a win over Portland tonight. After losing Game 1 the Suns have totally dominated the rest of the series. On Thursday night the Suns dominated the Blazers 108-89 as a 1.5-point underdog.
Jason Richardson unloaded 42 points, while the best that Portland could muster was 17 points for LaMarcus Aldridge. The Game 3 results quickly changed the oddsmakers tune, as the Suns are a 1-point road favorite in Game 4. The Hawks and Bucks finally return to the court today after taking three days off. On Tuesday Atlanta took a 2-0 series lead with a 96-86 win as 7.5-point favorites. Joe Johnson had 27 points, but Josh Smith was the star for Atlanta with 21 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists. John Salmons scored 21 point for Milwaukee, while rookie Brandon Jennings struggled with only nine points on 3-of-15 shooting. Back in Milwaukee for Game 3 the Bucks are a slim 1-point favorite.
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