Oklahoma City at Brooklyn
Time: 6:30 PM CST (NBA TV)
Spread: OKC -2.5
Odds c/o 5dimes
The Oklahoma City Thunder is 20-16 and have won eight of its last 10 games. The Thunder are 8-10 on the road where it will encounter the Brooklyn Nets Tuesday night on NBA TV. OKC is 2.5-point favorites in the game, and the over/under is set at 216 points according to NBA oddsmakers at bookmaker 5dimes.
The Thunder are surging, and the team has won six of its last eight games. OKC is better than expected, but perhaps it was just underestimated, to begin with.
Veterans Danilo Gallinari and Dennis Schroder have come through, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is breaking out as the future leader of this team. Gilgeous-Alexander came courtesy of the Los Angeles Clippers, and he leads the team in minutes per game (35.4) and in scoring (19.8 per game).
Chris Paul is a steady influence at 16.3 points and 6.6 assists per game, which leads the Thunder. Steven Adams is averaging just shy of a double-double, and Nerlens Noel is functioning well as a post defender in the second unit. The Thunder probably has its work cut out for it to make the postseason, but it is not altogether out of the realm of possibility that this rebuilding team sneaks into the postseason.
With Schroder, Gallinari, and Paul, the Thunder have a veteran core mixed with the youth and the savvy defense of Adams to bring it together on the defensive end. OKC averages 108.8 points per game and limits its opponents to 107.5. In the Thunders’ most recent loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, it got 24 points and 15 rebounds out of Steven Adams. He looked better than Sixers cornerstone Joel Embiid, and Adams has the potential to do that as a player whose talents are not all translatable into statistics.
With Westbrook gone the thought was that he would be a big-time rebounder, but he seems to still be adjusting to the notion that he can grab them at will without Russ’ concerns of getting triple-doubles. Few expected the Thunder to improve after shedding a triple-double monster like Westbrook, but the balance and overall team play has made the Thunder into a formidable playoff contender.
The Brooklyn Nets are 9-7 SU at home this season. The Nets enter riding a six-game losing streak that has included two losses to teams with losing records (Minnesota and New York). Brooklyn will try to get back on track tonight, after having surrendered 25 points to Markelle Fultz in a bad loss to the Orlando Magic last night.
Orlando defeated Brooklyn 101-89, despite the Magic being without star forward Jonathan Isaac who is expected to miss at least two months with a hyper-extended knee. Spencer Dinwiddie led the Nets in scoring with 16 points, along with 16 from Joe Harris, but Dinwiddie shot just 6 of 19 and hit just 2 of 10 from three-point range. Brooklyn shot 33.3 percent from the field in the game and hit 10 of 47 (!) threes, a 21.3 percent clip. That horrid shooting will never translate to wins, so the Nets have a lot to figure out and have the task of doing so while in the midst of an Eastern Conference road trip. At 16-19, the Nets are in danger of falling out of the playoff picture if its skid continues.
The Nets have mostly been without star free agent signee Kyrie Irving. He has appeared in just 11 games, which has left Dinwiddie to flourish. Of course, Carries LeVert has also missed most of the season, which leaves Dinwiddie and Joe Harris as the remaining No. 1 and No. 2 options. Both are fine role players but if either is a top option the offense is going to have its struggles, and it certainly has.