NBA Pick: New York Knicks vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
NBA Betting Odds from Bookmaker
NBA Betting Favorite: Thunder -10.5
The New York Knicks and Oklahoma City will square off early Sunday afternoon in Oklahoma City. The Knicks have been a major disappointment all year, while the Thunder have the most wins in the NBA. Russell Westbrook is out for the Thunder, but Kevin Durant has been the hottest player in the NBA of late. Can the Knicks find a way to cool off Durant and the Thunder?
The rumors are starting to grow louder that Knicks coach Mike Woodson may be done sometime soon. The Knicks had a nice year last year, but things have fallen apart this season. This team is 19-30, and the expectations were very high coming into the year. The Knicks are 20-29 ATS this season. What has been the difference between last year’s Knicks team and this year’s team? Last year’s bunch was very efficient on offense. This year the Knicks are shooting just 44.2 percent from the floor and averaging just 96.8 points per game.
The Knicks have had some offensive breakouts of late, but there’s no consistency there. It does this team no good to pile up 110, 114, and 117 points against the Lakers, Celtics, and Cavs only to struggle to score against good teams in the league. New York’s defense has never been very good the past few seasons, but they have been able to outscore teams. That hasn’t happened this year against quality teams. J.R. Smith’s numbers are way down across the board. He was a top scoring option last year, but his points per game have dropped five points this year and he is shooting just 39 percent from the floor.
The Oklahoma City Thunder suffered a tough hit when Russell Westbrook went down with another injury a few weeks ago. Most assumed this Thunder team would need to limp along until their star point guard came back. Kevin Durant had other ideas! Durant has gone on a ridiculous tear of late. Durant’s had a great career already in the NBA, but this recent run is the best of this NBA career. He has literally put this team on his shoulders. The Thunder are 12-1 in their last 13 games overall.
Oklahoma City’s much improved defense has turned this team into a perennial elite team in the NBA. A few years ago this was a talented team that just tried to outscore people, but now they are third in the NBA in total defense. Opponents are shooting just 42.9 percent from the floor against Oklahoma City. Jeremy Lamb’s emergence as another scoring option and a solid outside shooter has really helped Oklahoma City. Lamb averaged 3.1 points per game last year. He is averaging 10.0 points per game this season. Oklahoma City also ranks fourth in the NBA in total rebounding. This team has no clear weaknesses.
Score Prediction: Oklahoma City 107 New York 89
I like this spot for Oklahoma City. The Knicks haven’t played well on Sunday’s, and Oklahoma City has Orlando on Friday night and then a day off on Saturday. Look for Oklahoma City to win big here.
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