Before placing your NBA pick on tonight's battle between the OKC Thunder & the Denver Nuggets, take a quick look at the Western Conference standings as one team occupies the No. 10 spot & the other is No. 11.
OKC Thunder (-6) vs. Denver Nuggets 9:05 ET
The Western Conference standings of the NBA reveal OKC at 26-25 SU (currently favored by 5.5 points in NBA odds for tonight) & Denver at 19-32 SU, 7 games behind OKC with little hope of post-season consideration. More importantly than that is the current form and attitude of each of these 2 teams. Let’s take a look at that current form and attitude of each of these teams, as they enter tonight’s game.
The Denver Nuggets struggled last year to a 36-46 SU season. This year, under HC Shaw, it appeared improvement was imminent. The Nuggets were 18-20 SU when the calendar turned to 2015. Since that time, Denver has lost its way with a record of 1-12 SU, 3-10 ATS. Taking much of the blame for the decline is an offense that has averaged just 94 PPG on 41% shooting in the last 10 games. Over that timeframe, they also have a -7 net rebound margin. In their most recent 5 games, the Nuggets have averaged just 88 PPG. That includes a 98-88 loss to Detroit on Friday, when many of the Nuggets were under the weather. The home court is no longer a haven for the Nuggets. In fact, they stand just 12-13 SU, 10-15 ATS in their Mile High home. In their previous 5 home games, they have gone 0-5 SU ATS. HC Shaw has openly stated this team is just trying to get to the All-Star break and then regroup.
OKC has no such luxury. This is a team who was 60-22 SU in 2013 and 59-23 SU last year. But recurring injuries to their 2 superstars, Durant and Westbrook, left the Thunder a shell of their former team for the first 50 games. Once the calendar changed to February, the fortunes began to change for OKC. Witness the 131-108 home victory over the LA Clippers on ABC TV yesterday afternoon. They looked like the team of the previous 2 years. Tonight, they will play at nearly full strength, including the addition of Mitch McGary. Yesterday, in just his 3rd NBA game, McGary scored 19 points and pulled down 10 boards. He will be an integral part to the front line of the Thunder.
The bottom line is that these are two teams headed opposite directions. Clearly, the Nuggets are struggling. OKC needs to make their playoff move now! Place your NBA pick expecting a major surge by the Thunder in the next 2 months, as they solidify the playoff berth and return to the form of previous seasons.
NBA Free Picks: Take OKC Thunder at 5Dimes