NBA Pick: Los Angeles Lakers @ Oklahoma City Thunder Preview
For all of the rumors that are floating around with Pau Gasol and how Kobe Bryant is calling out management to try to squash all of the rumors, the Lakers came up with a great showing on Wednesday night, going on the road and knocking off the Dallas Mavericks, largely in part thanks to Gasol. That being said, we still aren’t all that certain that this mess is said and done with, and it could be an interesting few days in Orlando at the All-Star Game when some of the biggest stars in the game are going to be on display. Gasol led the team with 24 points on Wednesday night, but another big key were the 15 points scored by Derek Fisher. Fisher has been much-maligned this year for his play at the point guard spot, but he was able to pick up the slack and post some productivity even though he failed to log a single assist. It was another down night for Kobe though, as he only had 15 points on just 4-of-15 shooting. Normally speaking, when Kobe has nights like that, the Lakers lose, so at least it was nice to see the rest of the team rally even on his off night.
The Thunder had some issues scoring in the first few weeks of the season, but all of a sudden, they have just exploded offensively. A 119-104 win over the Boston Celtics on Wednesday marked a fourth straight victory, and the fourth straight game in which the team has scored at least 101 points. The Thunder are now averaging 102.8 points per game, and there is no doubt that they are one of the top offenses in the league. It is amazing to think that Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook had a game this week in which they scored 91 points between them, and it is just as shocking to think that they are averaging 51.3 points per game combined as well. Oh, and what is forgotten is the 16.8 points per game that James Harden is averaging, because with those numbers, he would be the leading scorer on a few of the lesser teams in this league.
The Final Word: The Thunder clearly have the deeper team, and they have the team that is going to stay the favorite in the Western Conference this year. Still, there was something about the way that the Lakers played in Dallas last night that encourages us, and we are going to take the points, knowing that Kobe could be ready to explode after last night’s lackluster effort on his part.
Los Angeles Lakers @ Oklahoma City Thunder Free Pick: Los Angeles +6.5