NBA Picks: Are Knight & Bledsoe Enough to Beat a Hot Thunder in Tonight's Up-Tempo Battle?

Steven Suarez

Thursday, February 26, 2015 3:37 PM GMT

Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015 3:37 PM GMT

The Thunder are on a roll despite not having the services of Kevin Durant, but will they be able to keep their winning streak alive on the road against the Suns? Our NBA picks can be found inside.

Odds Overview
The Suns are at home and that has its advantages obviously, but with the way the Thunder have been performing, we can't argue with them being favored for tonight's game. The NBA odds board show Oklahoma City laying 4.5 points here on the road, while the O/U is at 214.5, which is just a point higher than the total for the Cleveland/Golden State showdown.

 

Phoenix Suns
The Suns have been going through a rough stretch as of late, so Wednesday's road win over Denver came at the perfect time. Before that victory, Phoenix had lost five in a row and eight of nine, a punishing run that leaves the team on the outside looking in when looking at the Western Conference standings.

It's going to take time for Phoenix to adjust to its new rotation now that both Goran Dragic and Isaiah Thomas have been shipped off, with Brandon Knight coming to the Suns in return. There's no doubt the duo of Knight and Eric Bledsoe is as talented as any backcourt in the NBA, but will that be enough to guide Phoenix to a coveted playoff spot?

That remains to be seen. The Suns also appear ready to give more responsibility to Alex Len, as Miles Plumlee is no longer around either. Len has shown a lot of flashes of his potential but needs to show more consistency to his game if Phoenix is to stick around in relevance. However, tonight it's going to be the entire team that needs to step up against this red-hot Thunder squad.

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Oklahoma City Thunder
Don't look now but the Thunder have won seven straight games and have all of a sudden propelled into the Western Conference playoff picture. Would you really be all that surprised if they ended up with even higher than a seventh or eighth seed? This team has been killing it, and some of that success has come without one of their superstars on the floor.

The credit should mainly go to Russel Westbrook, who's been a man possessed this season and especially so whenever Durant has been out. His usage has been through the roof and he's created a ridiculous amount of offense by himself. With his help, the Thunder have improved to 35-25 overall, and now they're only a couple games back of the Spurs for the seventh seed.

Just imagine the possibilities when KD returns and is assumed to be fully healthy. The Thunder have made some nice moves by acquiring the likes of Enes Kanter, D.J. Augustin and Dion Waiters, and that's given them some depth they haven't had in quite some time, especially when it comes to scoring the basketball. Westbrook and Durant haven't had to do absolutely everything on their own, and we're seeing the benefits with this recent winning run. Will that streak stay alive after tonight?

Want a Second Opinion? Check Out This Capper's NBA Pick for Thunder/Suns

NBA Pick
Though the Suns have proven they can hold their own and will have the clear benefit of being at home, it's pretty tough to fade this Thunder team right now.

Westbrook has been the most dominant player in the NBA in recent weeks and he's in for another big game tonight with Durant still out. Ibaka has raised his level of play too and has been the driving force in helping Oklahoma City rank as the league's best rebounding team.

This should be an up-tempo battle with a lot of points being scored, so the Thunder's recent additions should come in handy here. They now have a second unit that can help relieve some pressure on Westbrook to do it all himself. With that frame of thought in mind, we're going to be rolling the hot hand and backing OKC to win by at least five tonight for our NBA picks.

NBA Pick: Oklahoma City -4 at The Greek

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