NBA Prediction Thursday Night Preview/Pick- Thunder vs. Suns

Oklahoma City Thunder (46-15, 20-9 away) @ Phoenix Suns (35-25, 21-12 home) 03/06- 9:00PM EST

 

Line: OKC -6.0

Over/Under: 217.5

 

The Oklahoma City Thunder look to keep rolling as they go into Phoenix in search of their fourth straight win and 12th consecutive victory over the Suns in a Western Conference showdown on Thursday night.

 

With star Russell Westbrook back in the lineup and appearing to be in game shape following his knee injury, he has team poised and ready to make a strong push into the playoffs.

 

OKC (46-15) came under fire when Westbrook returned to the lineup and the Thunder dropped three straight at home, but they now appear to have found their game once again lighting up the scoreboard for an average of 118.0 points per game during their win streak.

 

Westbrook recorded a triple-double (13 points, 14 assists, 10 rebounds) in the Thunder’s 125-92 spanking of the lowly Philadelphia 76ers, achieving the feat in the smallest amount of time in 59 years.

 

I’m just trying to get my groove back,” he said. “I’m blessed to be able to do that in such in a short amount of time. It was fun.”

 

As good as the Thunder are without Westbrook, he is the man that makes everybody better and makes them a great and dangerous team and is the key to getting the Thunder back into the Finals in a talented and dangerous Western Conference.

 

With Westbrook back into a groove, that spells trouble for the Phoenix Suns (35-25) who are looking to snap an 11-game losing streak at the hands of the Thunder with Westbrook leading the charge averaging 23.0 points, 7.5 assists with a 49.4 shooting percentage.

 

For Phoenix, they are still a good team but seem to have fallen off the grid a little without the star point guard Eric Bledsoe, who’s been out since Dec. 30 with a knee injury. Bledsoe has starting practicing once again and is expected back in the coming weeks which is a welcome relieve with backup guard Leandro Barbosa out for the next six weeks with a fractured hand which he injured in Tuesday’s 104-96 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. The challenge now will be… can the Suns keep it together until then?

 

Other guys will to step up,” coach Jeff Hornacek said.

 

The Suns (35-25) are 2-3 in their last five games and failed to take advantage of a home heavy stretch that will see them play 12 of 15 in Phoenix after Thursday’s contest. 15 of their last 22 games will be played on the road and they will need to find their defense if they want any chance of making a strong playoff run.

 

Oklahoma is 1-0 so far against the Suns after posting a 103-96 win way back on Nov. 3 and with two teams that appear to be headed into opposite directions, the oddsmakers have made the visiting Thunder a (minus -6.0) point favorite but get the latest odds up until tipoff right here at Wonder Punter.

 

I too have to agree with the oddsmakers on this one and just feel the Thunder have too much fire power to leave Phoenix with a loss on Thursday night as it will be hard to go against the likes of Kevin Durant, Westbrook and the rest of the talented Thunder.

 

Prediction/Pick- Oklahoma City

 

 

By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter

Thunder vs heat preview

Oklahoma City Thunder at Miami Heat (-4, 204) Kevin Durant's recent scoring barrage has moved him front and center in the race for the NBA's most valuable player award. On Wednesday Durant will come face-to-face with the greatest challenge to his MVP quest as he leads the Oklahoma City Thunder into Miami to face LeBron James and the powerhouse Heat.

Durant has scored 30 or more points in 11 straight games, the main catalyst behind the Thunder's eight-game winning streak. Durant is on the fast track to his fourth NBA scoring title, but faces one of his toughest assignments of the year – tasked with scoring on, and defending, the four-time league MVP and two-time defending NBA champion. James' numbers have taken a tumble in recent years, but he remains the most productive player on a team that sits second in the Eastern Conference. James will have help, too, as Dwyane Wade returns to the starting lineup.

LINE HISTORY:

Miami opened -4. 5 and was bet down to -4. The total opened 204 in Las Vegas and was bet down to 203. 5.

POWER RANKINGS:

Thunder (-12. 5) – Heat (-14. 3) + Home Court (-3. 0) = Heat -4. 8

KEY INJURIES:

Thunder: Russell Westbrook (Out – knee), Heat: Dwyane Wade (Probable – knee)

WHAT BOOKS SAY:

"Most of the main rival teams at the top – Indiana, San Antonio, L. A. Clippers – would be +5 and bigger in Miami, but Oklahoma City and Durant are getting respect for how they are playing without Westbrook. Even though Durant is getting all the accolades for his recent play, and rightfully so – hes the current MVP frontrunner, the Thunder have the inside matchup edge with Perkins and Ibaka, plus Collison and Adams off the bench. " – Aron Black, Bet365. com.

WHAT SHARPS SAY:

"A bit surprising that Thunder actually have a better record right now than the Heat, despite playing with Russell Westbrook for the past 18 games. What has been most impressive to me is that OKC is 4-1 SU in their five games as an underdog without Westbrook during those past 18 games, meaning they have played very well against quality teams, even while short-handed. "

Thunder Dancers or Heat Dancers?

 

WHY BET THE THUNDER (36-10 SU, 27-19 ATS, 22-24 O/U):

Durant isn't just shooting his way to superstardom – he's thinking his way around defensive schemes designed to shut him down. Durant hit the game-winning shot in Monday's narrow victory over the Atlanta Hawks, and said afterward that he was successful because he had seen the game-ending defensive setup before. "This is the third team we played that's been under that San Antonio umbrella, " he said of the Hawks' approach. "They brought that (double-team). And they were bold enough to do it in the fourth quarter. " Durant averages 29. 3 points in 12 career games against the Heat.

WHY BET THE HEAT (32-12 SU, 19-25 ATS, 27-17 O/U):

Wade was given the green light to join the starting five after coming off the bench in Sunday's one-sided win over the San Antonio Spurs. Wade, who scored eight points in 24 minutes in a reserve role, relishes the challenge of facing the team with the best record in the West. "I asked (head coach Eric Spoelstra) to take me out as a starter that one game, but I didn't ask him to do it the whole year, " Wade told reporters Monday. "So we can stop that conversation. " Miami is an Eastern Conference-best 12-2 against West foes.

TRENDS: * Favorite is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings.

* Home team is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings.

* Thunder are 0-6 ATS in the last six meetings.

* Thunder are 0-5 ATS in the last five meetings in Miami. CONSENSUS PICK:

54 % on Oklahoma City +4, 75 % on Over 204.

 

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NBA Prediction Week 7 Game Preview/Pick- Thunder vs. Nuggets

thunder-nuggets-t1

Oklahoma City Thunder (19-4) @ Denver Nuggets (14-9) 12/17- 9:00PM EST

 

Line: OKC -2.5

Over/Under: 207

 

The Oklahoma City Thunder roll into Denver on Tuesday night as the NBA’s hottest team as they look to extend their win streak to seven games and it’s been easy to this point as they are crushing their opponents.

 

The Thunder (19-4) have won 14 of their last 15 games by simply utilizing their speed and athleticism on both ends of the court.

 

The magnificent duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are leading the way for the Thunder with an average of 17.8 fast break points per contest.

 

Durant with his 28.5 points per game is first in the league in scoring and is getting it done attacking the basket, with 95 of his 206 field goals coming from around or at the net.

 

Westbrook is averaging 21.0 points and with team-leading 40 steals is creating opportunities and opening the floor for his teammates.

 

It just gets us easy baskets,” Durant said. “Once you start to hit layups and get dunks, it opens the flood gates a little bit.”

 

The Thunder won on Sunday night 101-98 against the Orlando Magic as they were finally challenged, but only because they blew a 16-point lead.

 

We were able to get started there, but you have to be able to play 48 minutes,” said Durant.

 

Revenge will be on the minds of the Nuggets (14-9) after a poor defensive performance led to a 115-113 loss at Oklahoma City back on November 18, when Durant went for 38 points and Westbrook added 30.

 

Denver has played well at home winning seven of their last eight, but coach Brian Shaw admits it will take a different level of play to beat the Thunder.

 

I told them that if we want any chance of winning against Okalahoma City, we’re going to have to do a lot better in every area to even have a chance to win that game,” Shaw said.

 

At just 5-foot-9, guard Nate Robinson has been a spark off the bench for the Nuggets accounting for 14.7 points per game and his getting it done on the defensive side of the ball as well.

 

Despite the Nuggets strong play at home, the oddsmakers have made the visiting Thunder a slim (minus -2.5) point favorite in the Mile High City, but get the latest odds for the game here at Wonder Punter up until game time.

 

I too, agree and predict the Thunder leaving Denver with a big road win as they are just playing on a different level right now.

 

Prediction/Pick: Oklahoma City

By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter