The Oklahoma City Thunder are a perfect 12-0 at home but they’ve been far more vulnerable on the road. They’re just 7-4 away from their cozy confines and that record will be tested on Tuesday night when they visit the Denver Nuggets.
The Oklahoma City Thunder can win because…
They are rolling right now. Although the start to the season was a tad sluggish, they enter Tuesday on a six-game winning streak. They’ve also won 14 of their last 15 games.
The difference has been the balance offensively and the productivity from the bench. People making their NBA picks should note that the Thunder have more bench contributions these days (than they did last year) even without Kevin Martin. Reggie Jackson is chipping in 12.2 points per game while Jeremy Lamb is average 10.7 points per game in December. Also, Serge Ibaka is on pace for career highs in points (14.5) and rebounds (9.4). All of those players are taking the pressure off of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, which is why things are flowing so well.
The Nuggets just don’t have the same quality in their starting lineup or the same depth off the bench. Take the Thunder with your NBA picks.
The Denver Nuggets can win because…
They’ve gotten healthy and are putting the pieces in place. The Nuggets got Ty Lawson back in the lineup last week and they’re starting to get in a groove. They’ve won three of four and 10 of their last 13.
These two teams have squared off once already and the Nuggets nearly upended Oklahoma City, losing 115-113 on the road. Now that they’re the ones playing host, that advantage should prove critical.
Outlook & Pick
The Nuggets are inconsistent – even at home. They lost at home to Utah on Friday and barely beat the New York Knicks (by two), Dallas Mavericks (by two) and Minnesota Timberwolves (by two) in recent home contests. The Thunder are playing at a very high level right now and I expect that to continue. Lay the points.
Pick: Thunder -2 at BetOnline