Time for Healthy Thunder to Make Up Ground

Megan Rochester

Friday, December 12, 2014 8:25 PM GMT

The OKC Thunder is in full action mode winning 4 straight games since the return of their superstars. Check-out this article to get a review on how the Thunder has held up against NBA odds so far this season, and what's to come for them as they finish off 2014. 

Oklahoma City discovered what life would be like without their star players on the floor: miserable. However, even with their two best players sitting the bench for 18 straight games due to injury, the Thunder has somehow kept their heads above water and could have the best chances at a lottery pick into the NBA playoffs.

Let’s take a look at how the OKC Thunder has done so far in the season, how they are now with all their players back, and what the future holds for NBA picks on their squad.

 

The Silver Lining of a Crappy Start
Believe it or not, though, there was an upside to what could be the strangest injury coincidence in the history of the NBA. Without the  key playmakers on the court, it gave the other players on the team a chance to step into the lime-light and make themselves much more efficient upon Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook’s return.

Reggie Jackson is finding his shot early in the season, becoming much more apart of the offensive game and can now be a confident leader on the floor if Durant or Westbrook step out. Other young players, like Jeremy Lamb, are getting minutes on the floor they desperately needed for experience.

They are no longer a team with only two options, but now their full roster is ready to step up and play at any moment. . With the return of Durant and Westbrook, the team is looking to be one of the most dangerous 8th position playoff competitors in the history of the game.  But in order to get to that 8th position, they are going to have to buckle down and defeat some of the younger Western Conference teams.

 

Oklahoma City Back In Full Swing
The OKC was just 3-12 before Durant and Westbrook came back from injury, but now are playing with a record of 9-13 SU since their return and have only lost one game in their last 7 contests, and with a full and workable roster, their defensive efficiency has pulled up to 3rd in the league.

Durant is already scoring an average of 21.4 points, 4.2 assists and 5.6 rebounds since his five games he’s played on his return, and Westbrook is already leading the team again with 26 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 7.2 assists since he stepped back out on the court 6 games ago. It’s safe to say the Kings of the OKC have taken back their rightful place as starters.

 

What to Expect Next
In the season, overall with and without the two star-players on the team, the Thunder went 11-10-1 ATS and 6-15-1 on the OVER/UNDER.

It’s more than obvious that they are a smart pick ATS when they play at home, as they currently hold an 9-2 ATS record when on their court. On the other hand, I would NOT advise you to take them ATS when they play away, and that’s including when you see their stars on the floor. They are 2-8-1 ATS when playing as the visiting team, 0-5 ATS in the last 5 away games, and they have yet to cover ATS when playing away with Durant and Westbrook on the floor.

If you also wanted to look at the totals on the Thunder within the next couple of weeks, I think most NBA odds are going to overestimate the OKC on their totals, so the UNDER could be your safest bet.

The Thunder is going to hit the ground running in the next couple of weeks to make a serious statement about how focused they are on making it into the playoffs. With that being said, you can expect a lot of action and minutes from all the key players in their Western Conference games like the Lakers on Dec 19th and the Kings on Dec. 16th.