The Kings have had a resurgence since trading for Rudy Gay, and without their star point guard still, the Thunder are susceptible to a loss here. Will Sac-town come to play on a Sunday, or will the Thunder cruise behind the insane scoring from Kevin Durant?
These two teams are literally causing nightmares for one another because of the mismatches presented, and it could easily lead to a high scoring game tonight. While it isn’t the highest total of the day, it is close, and this one could be well into the 200s before crunch time even hits.
The first and biggest issue is the huge problem Durant poses to the Kings’ defense. Before the trade for Gay, the first meeting between these two saw Durant have 27 points. Now without Westbrook, Durant is going to have to be an even bigger scorer, and if you have watched any of his games over the last few weeks, you’ll know he is very capable.
In fact, his 54 career high in points he scored just a few nights ago might just be in jeopardy tonight versus one of the worst defenses against the small forward position. The Kings are in the lower third of the league in defending small forwards this season, and Durant should have free roam tonight with Gay defending him.
On the other side, the Thunder will likely have no answer for the M1 Abrams tank that is DeMarcus Cousins. Cousins leads all centers in scoring this season, and with only Kendrick Perkins to defend him, a huge night for Cousins awaits if he stays out of foul trouble. Defending Perkins shouldn’t lead to too many fouls for Cousins, and I expect at least 25 points or more from the Kings’ big man.
The point guard battle between Reggie Jackson and Isaiah Thomas should also provide more offense than defense. Thomas is not a good defender and Jackson has been dominated by quicker PGs since Westbrook went down. All of this is why I see the over being the play tonight.
The Sharp Pick
The Kings have been great cashing the over recently. In their last 15 games overall, the over is 11-4, and with a total tonight of only 211, it could be more of the same for the Kings and their spotty defense. The Thunder had been on a slight downtick in scoring until their huge game against the Warriors where they not only scored more than 120, they gave up that much as well.
The total has also gone over in seven of the last eight road games for the Kings, which could be due to the fact that they are giving up well over 106 points per game when playing on the road this season. The Thunder probably have a floor of 105 points tonight against the Kings, and with Westbrook down, Thomas and Cousins will likely have excellent games despite playing on the road. I see the over being the NBA pick with the real value.
My Pick: OVER 211