The game of the week arrives on Thursday night, when we get a rematch between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Golden State Warriors. The defending champs won sans Stephen Curry the other day and will play host at Oracle Arena, where they’ve yet to lose this year.
OKC couldn’t finish off the Dubs at home just a few days ago, but they’ll have revenge on the brain and would love to take down the defending champs. After going just 2-5 in their last seven games, however, can we safely assume they’re a good bet to make it happen?
We tackle that in more in Thursday night’s NBA betting preview:
Phoenix Suns @ Miami Heat
Line: Miami -13.5 Total: 211
Phoenix travels to South Beach tonight, as they’ll battle Dwyane Wade and the Heat for the second time this season. Miami stole game one in the two-game series in early January, when they took down the Suns in the desert, 103-95. The Suns look a little different now, as Markieff Morris got traded and Brandon Knight (26 points in first meeting) has been sidelined for the last month. With Knight’s scoring gone and no defense to be seen, the Suns are going to have a very difficult time keeping up with the Heat, who have been a solid 19-12 on their home floor and look to build on a two-game winning streak.
Phoenix’s only saving grace could be big man Alex Len, who continues to start next to Tyson Chandler. That pairing hypothetically helps the Suns’ defense and rebounding, while Len has turned the corner recently two straight big double-doubles and 13+ points scored in five straight games. Len and Chandler can’t do it all by themselves, however, as the Suns look to be severely out-manned when it comes to their perimeter talent. Because of that, the likes of Goran Dragic, Joe Johnson and Wade could have a huge advantage in front of their home crowd in this matchup.
In addition, the Suns have been awful lately, going 1-9 in their last 10 games. The Total is dicey here just because the Suns could struggle to score on the Heat on the road, but Phoenix giving up 107 points per game defensively makes it worth considering. Miami plays at a slower pace and defends, though, so target the Under and we’ll take the Heat to win/cover.
Pick: Heat 105, Suns 94
San Antonio Spurs @ New Orleans Pelicans
Line: Spurs -8.5 Total: 207
The Spurs visit New Orleans for the first game on TNT tonight, so we need to prepare for two things: the Pelicans playing up for the national TV spotlight and the top Spurs stars getting Pop’d. Especially on the second game of a back to back set, we need to be careful of San Antonio resting some of their key guys. Both Tony Parker and Tim Duncan are the true danger zones, but Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge could also be rested. So far, so good, but naturally any of those guys sitting could hurt the Spurs’ odds here.
The big thing the Pellies have going for them is they’re at home tonight, where they’re a solid 16-13. San Antonio, conveniently enough, has lost all nine of their games this year away from home. This series is split (1-1), too, so New Orleans knows if Anthony Davis can show up, they can shock with a 2-1 series lead. San Antonio is too good to let that happen, though, so I expect the Spurs to win. That being said, rest potential and being on the road is going to keep this pretty close. I like the Pellies to beat the spread.
Pick: Spurs 106, Pelicans 101
Sacramento Kings @ Dallas Mavericks
Line: Mavs -7.5 Total: 220.5
This is the second highest total of the night for pretty good reason, as the Mavs and Kings both have very strong offenses and neither play much defense. Sacramento could limp into this one with both Rajon Rondo and Rudy Gay iffy to play, so it’s quite possible this one is easy for the Mavs, who have been good at home (19-12). Sac-town has been atrocious away from Sleep Train Arena (10-19), but in both previous meetings they scored at least 112 points and have split the series. The last clash was an awesme 117-116 OT thriller won by the Mavs in Dallas, and it’s fairly possible we see something close to that again. Because of the lack of defense, I’m looking for a huge game out of DeMarcus Cousins and the Kings to beat the spread. Shoot for the Over in this one.
Pick: Mavs 115, Kings 112
Oklahoma City Thunder @ Golden State Warriors
Line: Warriors -7.5 Total: 228
This is easily the game of the night and also boasts the highest total. Golden State should get Stephen Curry back and should be feeling pretty good after winning two intense meetings against OKC already. They’re also undefeated at the Oracle Arena this year and haven’t lost a home game in nearly 50 tries. It’s tough to figure the first coming now, especially with OKC going 2-5 in their last seven and collapsing just last night in Los Angeles. The points and big performances will be there, but look for the Dubs to once again show that they’re better than the Thunder.
Pick: Warriors 111, Thunder 107