The Oklahoma City Thunder continue life without reigning NBA MVP and scoring champion Kevin Durant on Tuesday as the Indiana Pacers make their lone visit of the season. Oklahoma City is a 7-point BetOnline favorite on NBA odds with a total of 203.
Durant's Return TBA
Oklahoma City (31-25) has to be concerned about Durant's surgically-repaired foot. He had been battling soreness in the foot so he underwent a minor procedure over the weekend to try and alleviate it. Apparently a screw placed to repair the Jones fracture in Durant's right foot was rubbing up against another bone. Now, if that's all it was then Durant could be back as soon as next week. That's when he will be re-evaluated. But if the fracture isn't healing right, Durant's season could be over. Foot injuries can be very problematic for NBA guys. Just ask Bill Walton or Yao Ming, to name two.
Durant missed his 29th game of the season -- after missing just 16 total his first seven years -- on Sunday, a 119-94 win against visiting Denver, the Thunder's sixth straight victory. Russell Westbrook had 21 points, a career-high 17 assists and eight rebounds in just 27 minutes. How notable is that? Westbrook is only the second player in league history with at least 20 points, 15 helpers and five rebounds while playing less than 30 minutes in a game. Magic Johnson is the other; he did it twice. What really had to make OKC happy was seeing new addition Enes Kanter put up 20 points and 12 rebounds. He was the team's big trade acquisition at last Thursday's deadline from Utah. The Thunder sent out guard Reggie Jackson to Detroit and center Kendrick Perkins to Utah in that three-team deal.
The Thunder also remain without second-year center Steven Adams. He had surgery for a broken hand two weeks ago and is expected to miss at least one more week. The team originally gave Adams a rather vague 3-6 week timetable. He's averaging 7.4 points and 7.0 rebounds.
OKC is 8-1 this month, with the only loss coming against the Pelicans on an Anthony Davis buzzer-beater. The Thunder, who are averaging 112.4 points this month (would be a team record for any month), are eighth in the West, two games ahead of No. 9 Phoenix, which was weakened at the trade deadline in dealing Goran Dragic and Isaiah Thomas.
The Thunder are 27-27-2 against the NBA betting spread this season and 23-33 'over/under.'
Pacers Waiting on George
Indiana (23-33) is tied with Detroit for ninth in the Eastern Conference, just a half game behind No. 8 Brooklyn and one game behind No. 7 Miami, which has lost star Chris Bosh for the season. The Pacers were quiet at the deadline but their big move could come next month as they think Paul George could make his season debut around mid-March off his broken leg suffered while with Team USA.
The Pacers have won three straight and six of seven. They caught a break on Sunday against Golden State as NBA MVP betting favorite Steph Curry sat out for the Warriors. Indiana won 104-98 behind 30 points from Rodney Stuckey, who played through a sprained ankle suffered Friday. It was his second straight 30-point game, a first for his career. Indiana's bench is one of the best in the league and that group scored 61 points for the second straight game Sunday.
Sunday's victory was No. 190 career for Pacers coach Frank Vogel, tying him with Larry Brown for the most in franchise history (NBA only). Indiana has won its last eight games when scoring at least 100 points. It is 16-6 this season overall when doing so.
The Pacers are 30-23-3 against the spread and 32-23-1 'over/under' on NBA odds.
This is the first meeting, with Oklahoma City going to Indianapolis on April 12 in a game that could have playoff ramifications for both. Last year the teams split. The Thunder won at home 119-84 behind 36 points, 10 rebounds and five assists from Durant. Westbrook had 26 points and 13 assists. George led Indiana with 32. OKC has won four in a row at home in this series. In the game at Indiana, the Pacers won 102-97 behind a triple-double from former Pacer Lance Stephenson. Durant had 38 points and Westbrook 21 in the loss.
NBA Free Picks: Thunder -7 and 'over' 203 points is our NBA pick. Indiana is 1-6 ATS in its past seven Thursday games. The Thunder have covered their past six games. The over is 12-2 in Indiana's past 14 vs. teams with a winning record. The 'over' is 5-1 on OKC's past six against clubs with a losing record.