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NBA Picks: Oklahoma City vs Golden State Predictions
The Oklahoma City Thunder has been rolling through the first quarter of this shortened season, jumping out to the best record in the NBA (by percentage points over Chicago). Golden State is trying to turn the corner and be an exciting and relevant team again in the Western Conference, touting some young talent. The Thunder will look to continue their early-season dominance when they pay a visit to the Bay Area Friday night to meet the Warriors. This will be the first of three meetings between these two teams this season. Here’s a quick look at my NBA picks on this matchup.
Oklahoma City Thunder (15-3) @ Golden State Warriors (6-11), 10:30 p.m. ET
The Thunder hasn’t done much wrong lately, winning their last three games and 10 of 11 after a two-game losing streak. OKC posted a 101-91 home win over New Orleans Wednesday night in its last action. The Thunder has the dynamic backcourt duo of Kevin Durant (25.7 ppg, 7.2 rpg) and Russell Westbrook (20.4 ppg, 5.6 apg), but the duo has become a trio with the emergence of sixth-man James Harden as the team’s No. 3 scorer (16.8 ppg). With three guards leading the team in scoring, the Thunder thrives in the open court, ranking fifth in scoring (99.3 ppg), but it also boasts an above-average defense, ranking 11 th in the league points allowed per game (93.3 ppg).
The Warriors should welcome a higher tempo, despite their struggles. Golden State is coming off a 101-93 home win over Portland Wednesday night, but it had dropped 10 of 13 prior to that. The Warriors are a competitive 4-3 when they score 99 points or more, but just 2-8 when held to 98 or fewer. The team does have home wins over Chicago and Miami on its resume, so the Thunder shouldn’t fall asleep against this young team. Longtime Warrior Monta Ellis is carrying the load for the team (21.9 ppg, 7.2 apg, 1.8 spg), with Stephen Curry (17.3 ppg, 5.4 apg, 2.0 spg) providing support and offseason-signee David Lee averaging a double-double (18.8 ppg, 10.4 rpg). If these three are on their games, the Warriors can be a very dangerous team. But, as their record indicates, these three have been off more than they have been on. Based on the quality wins they have already this year, expect the Warriros to step up and be ready for this challenge.
The latest NBA odds show the Thunder favored by 4 points, while the total has been posted at 198 points. On paper, this looks like a mismatch, and Oklahoma City is the favorite, but the “any given night” mantra comes into play here. Golden State does have “quality” wins on its home court this year, and Oklahoma City may have a matchup problem against Lee inside. The big “if” is the Warriors’ big three. They’ve been very inconsistent, while the Thunder’s trio has been steady and reliable no matter where it plays. This will be a closer game than it looks on paper, but the Thunder has just a little too much to lose here. This should be an entertaining game – probably one of the highest-scoring contests of the night.
Final Score Prediction: Thunder 108, Warriors 100