The Golden State Warriors, who have won eleven of their last 13 games, are embroiled in a fight for playoff position in the West, as they are slugging it out with the Los Angeles Clippers, Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns. On Friday night they will take to the floor against the Oklahoma City Thunder in pro basketball betting action that is slated to get underway at 9:35 PM ET at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City.
This will be the 12th straight game in which the Thunder plays without Russell Westbrook, the high-intensity point guard who has undergone three surgical procedures on his knee and will be missing from the team until after the NBA All-Star break. In the last meeting between these teams (November 29), Westbrook scored 34 points as the Thunder (a 7.5-point favorite at BetAnySports) won a thrilling 113-112 overtime decision, despite shooting just 39% from the field.
Westbrook was removed from the rotation shortly after Christmas, and NBA bettors can see that the Thunder has not exactly ripped through the league in his absence. In fact, they won just five of their first ten games playing without him, after winning ten of their previous eleven WITH him.
Oklahoma City has not had the greatest shot selection of late either, having hit below 40% as an aggregate figure over their last four entering Thursday’s action. It’s a good thing this team knows how to play defense; in six of those last 12 games they have held the opponent 40% or below from the field. Of course, defense is one of the more underrated parts of what Oklahoma City does, having been embedded as part of the culture by head coach Scott Brooks, and a lot of that involves the intimidation factor inside with Serge Ibaka, one of the league’s premier shot-blockers (fourth in the league, at 2.35).
Durant, who is the NBA’s leading scorer, with an average of 28.5 points per game, is currently being hampered by a wrist injury, which was not a factor in the three-game stretch recently when he went just 29 of 70 (41.4%). Interestingly enough, when he hurt the wrist after a fall against Milwaukee last Saturday night, he was just 1-for-9 from the field, and then stayed in the game and shot 7-for-9 the rest of the way. He did not practice Monday, and then went out and hit 15 of his 28 attempts against Memphis on Tuesday night.
Pro basketball bettors probably can probably count on him being there, as the wrist is not expected to keep him out of the game. Is he a big part of the Oklahoma City offense? Well, BetAnySports customers don’t have to look any further than a quote from the reigning MVP himself. LeBron James of the Miami Heat says he is actually “jealous” of the number of shot attempts Durant gets, and he really wasn’t kidding.
“I get jealous sometimes when I look over at KD and he’s like 16-for-32 (from the field) and then 14-for-34,” said James, when interviewed by ESPN.com. Durant is roughly three points per game ahead of both Carmelo Anthony and James in the scoring category.
There are only two players in the NBA who average more field-goal attempts per game than Durant’s 19.4. That might be a bit surprising to NBA bettors, as for most of this season he has played alongside of Westbrook, who has never been known for being shy about shooting. But it stands to reason that when Westbrook is not available, and without a multitude of explosive offensive options, Oklahoma City is going to turn more toward Durant and his ability to put the ball in the basket. So what James was probably saying, in so many words, is that Durant’s scoring average, which is more than his, is greatly a product of him being able to take all those shots.
If you examine the last ten games without Westbrook, Durant has averaged 22.7 shots per contest, with a 33.5-point average. if he is indeed forcing up more shots, there is going to be a tendency, form time to time, for there to be a game where he is way off in terms of accuracy. What pro basketball bettors have to ponder is whether coaches can put together schemes in which they can get him forcing shots early and getting him frustrated to the point where he takes the offense down with him, as was often the case with Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers in the past.
Meanwhile, speaking of one player being a dominant part of the offense, let’s bring up the case of the Golden State Warriors, where Stephen Curry (who had 32 points last time against OKC) has taken 18.2 shots per game, most on the team, though not by a wide margin. It is the strange results the Warriors have gotten when he is picking up the bulk of the scoring load that sportsbook bettors should take note of, and that we need to reiterate. On Wednesday night, Curry scored 24 points against Denver in a 123-116 defeat. That brought Golden State’s record to 12-15 straight-up when Curry scores 20 points or more in a game. Their record when he is BELOW 20 points? A perfect 13-0!
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Cole started off as a part time handicapper and a full time computer programmer. After developing a computer program that consistently provided winners in NFL, NBA, MLB, and college sports Cole went into full time handicapping. The computer program and his knack for winners made him a rising star in the handicapping world. His complex computer program based on algorithms and analytical calculations have led to a 60% ATS rate.
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