Only two games in the NBA on Thursday night as LeBron and company bring the Heat to Oklahoma City in the early matchup while the Clips and the Lakers tangle in the battle of LA in the late game. Find out where we have decided to place our NBA picks in each of tonight's matchups.
Swinging Johnson - NBA Record (1-0, +1.00 units)
*Games assigned 1 to 5 units.
Miami Heat (35-14 SU, 25-24 ATS) vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (39-13 SU, 31-19-2 ATS)
The Heat are blazing through the second half of the season winning their last 6 contests and covering in all but two. Miami has owned Oklahoma City recently as they have won and covered their last five matchups with the most recent clash occurring on Christmas Day in a 103-97 victory in South Beach.
Tonight the teams are coming off markedly different performances. On Tuesday night the Eastern Conference leading Miami Heat cashed with a dominating 117-104 victory over the Trailblazers while the 6-point favored Thunder got rolled by the Jazz in Utah 109-94. Perhaps the Thunder were looking ahead to tonight's showdown in Okie City as they try to snap Miami's vice-like grip on the series in a rematch of last year's NBA Finals.
LeBron James has been unconscious lately, scoring 30 points or better and shooting 60% in six straight games. But can he continue this unworldly level of play against Kevin Durant and the Thunder? If you watched the game on Tuesday night you saw Miami allow an overmatched Blazers team to come back from a pair of 14-point leads only to blow them out as the game drew to a close.
Tonight is when the Thunder exact their revenge. The squares will be eating up the Heat but we know that Oklahoma City matches up well against LeBron and company particularly when you factor in the illness to Mike Miller and the contusion suffered by Udonis Haslem on Tuesday night. I feel that the NBA odds are a bit high but it's only there to suck in all that Miami money. Don't get fooled, the Heat are due for a letdown and the Thunder are licking their chops to accommodate them.
Free NBA Picks: Play Oklahoma City -5 for 2 units at TheGreek.com
LA Clippers (37-17 SU, 30-24 ATS) vs. LA Lakers (25-28 SU, 21-32 ATS)
What kind of alternate reality is this when the once lowly Clippers, a team so bad they were thinking about changing their name to the Possums because they played dead at home and died on the road, are actually favored over the storied franchise that is the LA Lakers?
This is a home game for both teams as they share the Staples Center but technically the Lakers are listed as the home team in this one. In this matchup the Clippers strength is the Lakers weakness – defense. The Clips are allowing 93.6 points per game (4th) while the Lakers are surrendering 100.5 (23rd). Offensively both teams are in the top 10 in scoring but the Lakers have a decided advantage in rebounds, ranked 3rd versus the Clippers 17th.
The Clippers have won and covered both games against the Lakers this season however this game is going to be different. The Clips are playing back-to-back games after a solid 106-96 victory over the Rockets last night while the Lakers rested after a 91-85 home victory over the Suns despite Kobe coming off one of his worst shooting performances of his career. Factor in that Pau Gasol is done for the year and you have all the squares betting the rent money on the Clippers. But not us, we’re weird and unafraid.
The Lakers have won 8 of their last 11 after a dreadful start to the season but this team is simply too talented to wallow in mediocrity. They’ve tortured their backers this season at the betting windows who have plunked good money down on Kobe and company expecting the resurrection at any moment. But Kobe will redeem himself from his woeful performance two nights ago and Dwight Howard will clean the boards which will lead to a decisive Lakers victory.
Free NBA Picks: Play the Lakers + 3 ½ for 3 units at Betlegends.eu.[gameodds]5/218400/43/us[/gameodds]