Trust Durant & Make OKC Your NBA Pick as Thunder Strike & Cover Huge Spread vs. Nets

Matthew Jordan

Wednesday, November 25, 2015 12:13 PM GMT

Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015 12:13 PM GMT

If it weren't for the 76ers, the Brooklyn Nets might be the worst team in the NBA. Thus they have very little chance of winning in Oklahoma City and of being one of our NBA picks tonight.

Nets Going For First Winning Streak
Brooklyn (3-11) won the second half of a home-and-home with Boston on Sunday, 111-101 to end a two-game losing streak. The Nets had lost by 25 in Boston on Friday, but in this one they were 14-for-19 from the field in the second quarter to take a 17-point halftime lead. Brooklyn led by as many as 22, which was a season high advantage. Brook Lopez had 23 points and 10 rebounds and Jarrett Jack 22 points for the Nets. Brooklyn shot season-high .506 from the field and is now 14-2 since the start of last season (1-0 this year) in games in which it shoots .500 or better from the field.

The Nets don't have a very bright future because they owe Boston their unprotected first-round pick in the 2016 draft, the option to switch picks in 2017 and another first-rounder in 2018. Those are payment for the Paul Pierce/Kevin Garnett swap. But at least the Nets appear to have a keeper in 2015 first-round pick Rondae Hollis-Jefferson out of Arizona. He may not be a star but should be a good player, especially on defense. He's averaging 8.2 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 2.4 steals over the past five games. Hollis-Jefferson’s five steals vs. Boston were the most steals recorded in a game by a rookie this season and the most for a Nets' rookie since Kenyon Martin's six steals on Dec.17, 2000.

On NBA odds this season, Brooklyn is 7-7 against the spread and 6-8 'over/under.'

 

Thunder Welcome KD Back
The NBA is a much more entertaining league when Thunder star Kevin Durant is healthy and he somewhat surprisingly returned from a six-game absence due to a hamstring strain with 27 points on 10-for-13 shooting (7-for-7 inside 3-point range) in OKC's 111-89 blowout over Utah on Monday; Durant played only 30 minutes as he got the fourth quarter off. I say surprising return because Durant wasn't cleared to play in Sunday's win over Dallas. The Thunder are obviously playing it cautious with him. In its six games without Durant, Oklahoma City went 3-3.

“Felt good, got a little winded playing up in Utah. Forgot about the altitude,” Durant said to reporters after. “But after that first couple minutes, felt good.”

Durant's return put Dion Waiters back on the bench and he played well. Waiters had 12 points, a season-high six assists and four steals in 29 minutes. The Thunder outscored the Jazz by 34 points with Waiters on the floor. Fellow reserve Anthony Morrow added 15 points in 19 minutes. The Thunder’s reserves scored 44 points overall. OKC shot 54.5 percent as a team and the Jazz are one of the NBA's best defensive teams.

Oklahoma City (9-6) is 6-9 on NBA picks and 7-8 O/U.

 

Last Season
The Nets swept the Thunder, but that's incredibly misleading because neither Durant nor Westbrook played in either game. The Nets' home opener in 2014-15 was against the Thunder, and Brooklyn rolled to a 116-85 win. Lopez scored 18 points in his first regular-season game in nearly 11 months off foot surgery. Another Thunder starter, guard Andre Roberson, left that one in the first half with an injury and didn't return. The win marked the second-largest margin of victory in 82 all-time games between the Nets and Oklahoma City/Seattle franchise. It was the largest margin of victory for the Nets in their 22 home opener victories since joining the NBA in 1976-77. On Nov. 21 in OKC, the Nets won 94-92. Former Thunder player Reggie Jackson missed a winning 3-pointer at the buzzer. Lopez had 16 points and 10 rebounds for Brooklyn. The Nets enter this game with the longest active winning streak at Oklahoma City (three games) of any team in the league. Only one other team has ever won four straight games at Oklahoma City: The Spurs in 2009 & '10. Each of the Nets’ last two victories in OKC have been decided by two points. This will mark the first time the Nets have faced off against Westbrook since Jan. 2, 2013.

 

Final Analysis
As long as Durant plays again, lay the points and go 'over' with your NBA picks. The Nets are 4-9 ATS in their last 13 after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game. The 'over' is 6-2 in the Nets' past eight vs. teams with a winning record. The 'over' is 8-1 in OKC's past nine on Wednesday.

Free NBA Pick: Thunder -12.5; Over 211.5 at BetOnline

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