The NBA Odds have the Nets as +3 ½ home underdogs in this one, with a total of 197. Will Kevin Durant and company continue their hot stretch, or will the surging Nets get a statement win at home in front of what should be a sold-out crowd?
The Slim Reaper
Durant has been close to not human over the last three weeks or so, and he only needs four more 30+ scoring games in a row to match Michael Jordan for the most consecutive 30 points games in the modern era. Of course, no one is catching Wilt Chamberlain’s 65 straight games with 30 or more points, however with how Durant is playing, he could easily overtake Jordan, and might make a bigger dent in Chamberlain’s mark than anyone has even thought possible.
It is this kind of clout Durant carries with him into Brooklyn tonight, where a very proud man by the name of Paul Pierce will be waiting to try and stop him. Even at his advanced age of 36 years old, Pierce has been playing very good defense this season, especially recently. In the last 15 games for the Nets, they rank 3rd at defending the small forward position. Pierce is the sole reason for this encouraging stat for Nets fans.
However as we saw two nights ago, not even Lebron James can stop Durant right now. He is literally playing better basketball than anyone on the planet, and the only thing that could stop him would be a stoppage or cancellation of the game, or if the Nets are allowed an extra man on the floor. Durant is almost a lock for 30 points tonight against the Nets, and he can probably get more than that if the other members of the team are struggling. However I don’t think that will happen tonight, even though the Thunder are on the road.
The Sharp Pick
Oklahoma City is 15-9 ATS on the road this season, and even though the Nets won the first meeting between these two, I see Durant and the Thunder being the play here. The Thunder have been amazing versus the East this season, going 15-2 SU overall. They have also been great against the East on the road. In inter-conference road games this season, the Thunder are 8-0 SU and 7-1 ATS. Brooklyn on the other hand hasn’t been great against the West, giving up over 103 points per game on the season to the other conference. The Nets are also only 4-4 ATS as home underdogs this season.
Another thing to keep in mind is rust for the Nets. They have had three full days off before this game, and even though on the surface that may appear to help this older team, according to the data, it hasn’t helped much this season. When the Nets have had 2-3 days off in between games this season, they are only 3-6 ATS.
As long as one other member of the Thunder (Serge Ibaka, Reggie Jackson, Jeremy Lamb, etc.) comes to play along with Durant tonight, the Thunder can cover. They have continued to be undervalued on the road this season when playing the East, and even though the Nets are good, the Thunder are playing better than anyone right now which makes me confident in adding them to our NBA picks tonight.
My Pick: Thunder -3 ½