Oklahoma City Thunder (48-24 SU, 38-33-1 ATS) vs. Phoenix Suns (42-32 SU, 34-40 ATS)
NBA Betting Favorite: Thunder -2.5
The Oklahoma City Thunder are one of the hottest teams in the NBA right now. The Thunder have won 14 of their last 16 games overall. The Phoenix Suns are moving in the opposite direction. A few days ago it looked like the Suns might find a way to sneak into the playoffs in the Western Conference, but after losses in three of their last four games that is almost out of the question now. Can the Thunder keep their hot streak going on Wednesday night in Phoenix?
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Oklahoma City has gotten a nice boost from Kendrick Perkins when he has been able to play, but Perkins is still limited because of his knee injury. The Thunder have improved defensively over the last few weeks, and that has really helped fuel the team’s big run. Russell Westbrook has become one of the best point guards in the league. Westbrook’s scoring average is up by more than six points per game compared to last season. Kevin Durant is still the leader of this team, though his numbers are down ever so slightly from last year. Durant is at his best when he is getting to the line often. The Thunder’s youth movement has really taken the NBA by storm (no pun intended), and this is a team that should be a tough out in the playoffs for many years to come.
Phoenix has lost several tough battles in the last couple weeks, and it seems to have ended their playoff hopes. Coach Alvin Gentry even said after Sunday night’s loss that some of the starters may see reduced minutes in upcoming games as their playoff hopes go away. Steve Nas has been dinged up quite a bit, and I would expect his minutes to be limited in the last few games of the season. The Suns have struggled with teams who can rebound well this year, and they have been dominated in the paint on countless occasions. While their defense has been slightly improved, it is still quite poor.
Oklahoma City should be far more motivated to win this game than Phoenix. I expect the Thunder to win this one by several points.
Free NBA Pick: Thunder -2.5
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