In: NBA Free Picks20 Apr 2012
Free Picks Newsletter Lead Researcher
161-109-1 Overall Record
NBA Predictions: Oklahoma City (-9.5) vs. Sacramento (+9.5) Over-Under 213.5
After enduring a 5-5 stretch of the course of their last 10 games, the Oklahoma City Thunder find themselves a half game behind the San Antonio Spurs for the top seed in the Western Conference playoff standings. Fortunately, the Spurs have yet another matchup with the Lakers coming up on Friday and this time Kobe Bryant plans to play, while Oklahoma City will travel to Sacramento to challenge the 20-42 Kings. This game presents a great opportunity for the Thunder to handle their business versus an inferior team, while at the very least keeping pace for the number 1 seed in the upcoming playoffs.
The Kings have been better at home than what most fans realize posting a 15-16 record in games played in their own arena, but Sacramento has gone into a tailspin as of late. The Kings have only won 2 home games in their last 6 tries, and are losers of 8 of their last 10 games overall, as well. There recent fate can mostly be attributed to their inability to score and inability to defend.
How are they going to stop one of the best teams in the league??
This team has packed it up. There is no excuse for the San Antonio Spurs scoring 127 points against the Kings without Tim Duncan in the lineup. Come to think of it, that may be the biggest reason why Sacramento managed to post 102 points in that game themselves. Otherwise Sacramento rarely eclipses the century mark, and they have only averaged 97.3 points per game in their last 10 contests.
Most people will look at the results of the San Antonio versus Sacramento game and automatically assume that this matchup will be similar. There is no word of Oklahoma City resting any starters and the Thunder have only allowed more than 100 points to three of their previous ten opponents, and that happened versus the Los Angeles Clippers, Indiana Pacers, and Minnesota Timberwolves.
Actually, the game where Oklahoma City allowed over 100 points to the Timberwolves occurred in their second game in consecutive nights. The Thunder were coming off a huge victory versus these very same Sacramento Kings and were slightly fatigued and probably disinterested since Kevin Love didn’t suit up that night. They knew they were going to win and they did by 5 without playing an ounce of defense. Rest assured the Thunder won’t have another night similar to that defensively versus the Kings. There’s too much at stake now.
At this point in the season teams like the Kings are already making vacation reservations and the Thunder should have no problem limiting the Kings while the Thunder are fine tuning their skills for a deep playoff run so they can Prove that they aren’t just the best team in the West, they are the best team in the league.
Pick: Thunder -9.5