Free NBA Picks: Thunder at Warriors Odds
by Alan Matthews - 11/13/2013
If you like watching the Indiana Pacers, Chicago Bulls or Memphis Grizzlies, that's great. However, I believe basketball is meant to be an offensively-flowing game and not a physical, defensive grind. And for my mind, you won't find two teams more fun to watch as they fire away at will than the Oklahoma City Thunder and Golden State Warriors, who face off in Thursday night's TNT nightcap.
Both the Thunder and Dubs are in the Top 11 in the NBA in scoring, and the Warriors are No. 2 behind the Heat in field goal percentage, both overall and from long range. Behind Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, who set an NBA record for three-pointers a season ago, the Warriors launch 24.9 3-pointers a game and make 10.2 of them. That is excellent. Long-range shooting has been an issue for the Thunder, who pretty clearly miss Kevin Martin. They rank 28th in the league in three-point percentage at .271. It's hard to win in the NBA these days without being a team able to stretch defenses by consistently hitting the three.
This is the first of three meetings this season between the Western Conference contenders and the Thunder's only visit to Oakland.
Thunder at Warriors Betting Story Lines
Oklahoma City had to travel to another West powerhouse on Wednesday night in facing the Clippers. Kevin Durant is in his familiar spot atop the NBA scoring list at 30.2 points per game, almost four points ahead of No. 2 Kevin Love of Minnesota. OKC's only loss was Durant's worst game as he had just 13 points at Minnesota in the Thunder's second game of the season. That, not coincidentally, was the only game in which Oklahoma City hasn't reached triple digits. Durant hit a tying three-pointer late on Sunday against Washington to send that game into overtime as the Thunder won a game they trailed by 12 points in the fourth quarter for the first time since moving to Oklahoma City.
Russell Westbrook returned from his knee surgery a few weeks ahead of schedule, and he doesn't seem right yet. He's averaging 19.0 ppg entering Wednesday but shooting just .338 from the field and turning the ball over 4.5 times a night. It simply takes time to get that knee back to 100 percent as well as mentally get back there. Ask a struggling Derrick Rose. The Thunder do have one of the rookie surprises so far in 7-foot center Steven Adams. He wasn't expected to do much of anything this year as he's fairly new to basketball being from New Zealand and played just one season at Pitt. He has been very good, averaging 6.0 points on .530 shooting and 6.0 rebounds in 20 minutes per night. Kendrick Perkins is still listed as the starting center, but Adams is playing a bit more than Perkins. The former Celtic will be amnestied after this season.
When Curry and Thompson are feeling it from long range, the Warriors can beat anyone. However, the team also goes through cold stretches. In back-to-back losses at San Antonio and Memphis last weekend, Golden State didn't top 90 points. The Warriors were back to normal Tuesday night in a 113-95 home blowout of the Pistons. Curry had 25 points and eight assists, while Andre Iguodala had eight points and 11 assists. The Warriors never trailed, shot 60 percent from the field and led by as much as 29, so pretty much every key player sat the fourth quarter. Golden State hasn't gotten much offensively this season from center Andrew Bogut as he is averaging just 5.8 points per game. As long as he's healthy, rebounding and playing defense, Golden State doesn't care.
The Warriors have a minor injury as backup point guard Toney Douglas will be out at least two weeks with a stress reaction in his left tibia. This is noteworthy because Curry's troublesome ankles can go out any night. He has already had problems this year and missed that loss Friday in San Antonio. Douglas averaged 6.4 points on 44 percent from long range in 16 minutes per game as Curry’s primary backup. The Warriors will likely use the versatile Iguodala as a backup point guard when needed, and Kent Bazemore will see a few minutes per game.
Thunder at Warriors NBA Betting Odds and Key Trends
At BetOnline, the Warriors opened as 2.5-point favorites with a total of 209.5. All Thunder trends entering Wednesday: OKC is 2-4 ATS (1-2 on road) and 4-2 “over/under” (2-1 on road). Golden State is 5-2-1 ATS (2-0-1 at home) and 4-4 O/U (2-1 at home). Oklahoma City is 1-7 in its past eight games against teams with a winning record. It is 4-0 ATS in its past four in the second of a back-to-back. The Warriors have covered eight straight against Northwest Division teams. They are 1-5 ATS in their past five Thursday games. The under is 4-1 in the Thunder's past five in the second of a back-to-back. The over is 6-2 in Golden State's past eight against teams with a winning record. The Thunder are 6-1 ATS in the past seven meetings. The over is 6-2 in the past eight.
Free NBA Picks: Thunder at Warriors Betting Prediction
OKC has really had the Warriors' number, going 13-5 against the Dubs since moving from Seattle. The Thunder won three of four last year, averaging 118 points in the three wins. However, the Warriors have dominated at home this year, leading by at least 27 points in each of their three home games and trailing for a combined 23 seconds. To be fair, those wins have come over three bad teams: Pistons, Kings and Lakers. Still, with the Thunder in for a track meet Wednesday night and the Warriors off, you have to think they can wear down Oklahoma City in the second half. Take Golden State and the over.
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