Durant & Thompson to Lead the Warriors in Clash with OKC, But Don't Expect Lots Of Points

Golden State Warriors

Jay Pryce

Tuesday, April 3, 2018 12:52 PM GMT

Tuesday, Apr. 3, 2018 12:52 PM GMT

Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant will command the Golden State Warriors in what could very well be a post-season preview when they visit Oklahoma City and face the Thunder. Will we see buckets rain down?

Golden State Warriors vs Oklahoma City Thunder (-4.5)

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Free NBA Pick: Under 221Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

Warriors (56-21 SU, 32-44 ATS)

The Warriors can’t shake the injury bug. Although Kevin Durant (right rib soreness) and Klay Thompson (fractured right thumb) have returned, the unavailable list for those ruled out reads nearly as long as War and Peace: Stephen Curry (left MCL sprain), Andre Iguodala (flu) Kevon Looney (flu), Omri Casspi (sprained right ankle), and Patrick McCaw (lumbar spine contusion).

Curry’s absence is the one bettors should sweat, as the attack is built around his sharpshooting prowess. Fading Golden State is a regular moneymaker with the two-time MVP out of the lineup, particularly on the road. Since Steve Kerr assumed head coaching duties in 2014 and the current Warriors dynasty blossomed, the franchise is 8-9 SU and 5-12 ATS outside of Oracle Arena with Curry missing. It is failing to cover a -1.9 average line by 4.3 points per game.

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Most telling in the abovementioned situation is the fact six of Golden State’s outright wins occurred when tipping off 5-point chalk or more. It is 2-9 SU and ATS when laying less, or as underdogs. The typically potent offense shrivels. It posts 100.5 points per game on 43.8 percent shooting under these conditions. Durant has suited up for a pair, the Warriors losing both by a margin of 11.5 points. It’s easy to place a value on an individual player’s worth in the NBA, but much tougher to assess his overall significance to teammates and configurations on the floor. The market regularly comes up of estimations with Curry missing in Golden State road tests.

Thunder (45-33 SU, 32-45 ATS)

Currently sitting fifth in the Western Conference playoff race, inconsistency plagues Oklahoma City late in the season. Since February 1, it is 15-12 SU and 10-17 ATS, covering just one in their last six contests. An unfolding defense is the issue. The Thunder yield 108.6 points per game in this span, as opposed to 102.0 prior. The loss of defensive specialist Andre Roberson is the difference.

The 6-foot-7 guard-forward combo is arguably the best perimeter defender in the league. Roberson’s size, quickness, and athleticism allow him the ability to guard nearly any player on the court. He ranked fourth in the NBA in defensive Real Plus-Minus at the time of his season-ending left patellar tendon injury suffered on January 27.

Overall, Roberson played in 39 games this season. OKC surrendered 100.9 points per game on 45.3-percent opponent shooting. In the 39 contests the 2017 All-Defensive Second Team force sat out, the Thunder allow 107.7 points on 46.2 percent from the floor. Few players in the league are worth as many points to their team as Roberson, particularly on defense.

Pick

The Warriors are aiming to become just the second team in NBA history to post 60-plus wins in four straight years (Lakers). To do so, they can only lose one of their final five games. Expect a competitive run tonight, but look for a defense-first effort from Kerr’s men. The NBA odds for this game opened the game total 222.5 points, adjusting to 221.5 across most outlets in early trading. There is still plenty of room to jump on board the movement.

Since 2014, with Curry out, the ‘under’ is 11-6 when Golden State takes to the road. Only six games witnessed both teams combine for more than 217 points, and one was aided by overtime. Although Durant and Thompson playing today, a patchwork lineup will likely fail to put up 108 points the current market numbers project. OKC ekes out a close victory 107-105. Pick ‘under’ the total for your best bet.

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