The Sixers are limping towards the homestretch in what has been a disastrous season while the Thunder sits atop the Western Conference but which team do we back in our NBA picks tonight?
Philadelphia 76’ers (15-45 SU, 22-38 ATS)
The Sixers have now lost 14 straight games and covered the NBA odds in only three of those contests. The only team in more dire straits according to the standings is the Milwaukee Bucks but at least they have won a few recently and more importantly have covered in three of their last four. Not so with the not so beloved 76’ers who appear bent on beating the Bucks to the coveted top spot in the draft. Of course they will have to contend with Lady Luck and hundreds of ping pong balls but one mountain to climb at a time.
Philadelphia’s most glaring weakness is on defense. Despite averaging a solid 44 rebounds per game (11th in the NBA) they cannot control the pace and tempo of the game. The Ole’ or Matador Defense describes this team perfectly as they are hemorrhaging 110.7 points on average per game which puts them squarely at the bottom of all 30 teams. Twenty-five-year-old Thaddeus Young has been the lone bright spot in a sea of darkness this season with an average of 17.7 points per game.
Oklahoma City Thunder (45-15 SU, 33-27 ATS)
As bad as Philadelphia is, Oklahoma City is as good – literally according to their records which are mirror images of each other. You know when the mirror reflects an image backwards as in 45-15. I never quite got how that worked but I can plainly see that Oklahoma City is poised to make a championship run into the NBA Finals. Nevertheless, much can happen between now and June but after a mild midseason slump the Thunder is again booming.
Oklahoma City concludes a six-game homestand tonight which had an inauspicious start as they bowed in three straight games to the Heat, Clippers and were then stunned into sobriety when they lost 114-104 as 14 ½ point favorites in NBA odds to the Cleveland Cavaliers. They got back on the winning track Friday night when they defeated the Memphis Grizzlies 113-107 but narrowly failed to cover as seven-point home chalk. However, in their last game they not only got the win but finally got a cover for the legions that back them blindly when Kevin Durant led all scorers with 28 points and guided his team to a 116-99 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats.
Perhaps the biggest cause for celebration, even more so than the victory, was the performance of Russell Westbrook. The Thunder sharpshooter had been sidelined with a knee injury since late December and has undergone three surgeries in a span of eight months. Westbrook has been trying to shake off the rust since returning on February 20th when the team opened up their current homestand against the Heat. But on Sunday night he finally got his groove back when he shot 10 of 12 from the floor in 25 minutes and ultimately contributed 26 points in the win over the Cats.
Free NBA Pick:
Aside from two or three players the 76’ers are a D-League team masquerading as an NBA squad. They have about as much depth as the Kardashians while the Thunder could probably suit up the last five men on their bench and still win. But there’s a point spread involved here kids and that’s what makes us hold our chins, scratch our heads and contemplate which side is the right side in our NBA picks tonight.
Oklahoma City is 4-0 both straight up and against the spread in NBA odds versus the 76’ers over the past three seasons. The last time the teams met, the Thunder rolled to a 103-91 victory as 9-point road favorites in the City of Brotherly Love. But the oddsmakers are fed up with the chalk eaters and are making them pay dearly if they want to back Kevin and the boys. As of this writing the 76’ers are getting 20 ½ points! I believe every NBA team has at least a little bit of pride and the Thunder are not playing their best ball as they are 1-4 during this homestand. Let’s hold our nose and back the stinky Sixers in this one.
NBA Pick: Philadelphia + 20 ½ at Bet365.com.