Bet Thunder -3.5 vs. Pistons as OKC Finds Their Feet

David Lawrence

Friday, November 14, 2014 2:07 PM GMT

Friday, Nov. 14, 2014 2:07 PM GMT

The Oklahoma City Thunder are coming off a much needed win. Can they make it two in a row? They’re a small 3.5-point favorite on the NBA odds on Friday night.

The Detroit Pistons Can Win Because…
Their opponent is still missing its two best players and is not yet in a position where it is likely to play on a consistently high plane. The Oklahoma City Thunder are still without Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, still shorthanded on an alarming scale. A few players are coming back into the lineup, but the Thunder remain a far cry from the team they are (and will probably become) when Durant and Westbrook return. Oklahoma City has had to rotate the bodies it can still put onto the court, and when players have to regularly deal with extended workloads (in terms of minutes, not just responsibilities) that they’re not quite used to, you will see ragged and sloppy basketball, something much less than what any team (not just OKC) is able to do when it is healthy and deep.

Oklahoma City played a great game on Wednesday night against the Boston Celtics, but with the Thunder’s lack of depth, can this team play another great game on Friday? That’s going to be the tough part of this game for the Thunder: playing back-to-back strong games. It could be elusive. Oklahoma City has not yet won consecutive games this season. The Thunder’s offense, averaging just 92.3 points per game, tells you why this team hasn’t been able to win two in a row. It’s why Detroit can easily win this game.

 

The Oklahoma City Thunder Can Win Because…
They're getting better. More specifically, one of their main offseason acquisitions really came up big on Wednesday night against the Boston Celtics. Anthony Morrow, who had briefly been knocked out of the lineup with an injury (not for a prolonged period of time as had happened with Durant and Westbrook), scored 28 points against Boston, leading a surge after the Thunder fell behind, 18-3, in the first quarter. If Morrow can continue to shoot the way he did against Boston, Oklahoma City immediately releases a pressure valve. The offense knows it has another person to turn to. It can cycle the ball there and give that person a chance to score in large numbers. If Morrow or anyone else on the roster can shoot well, defenses will have to react to that player, and OKC can begin to move the ball better because the defense will overextend in response to a hot shooter.

The Thunder should also like their chances here because the Pistons are not a good team right now. They’re learning coach Stan Van Gundy’s new system and are going to take a long time to get it down pat. Detroit is averaging only 93.3 points per game, and it is 28th in the NBA in assists with 18.5. That won’t cut it against the Thunder on the road.

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Outlook
The Thunder aren’t going to play their best, but can Detroit take advantage? Nothing about the Pistons’ level of form right now suggests that they’re going to expose the Thunder. The Thunder have a little bit of momentum on their side, so take them with your NBA picks.

Free NBA Pick: Oklahoma City -3.5 at Bet365

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