Western Conference Contenders Showdown: Golden State Warriors at Oklahoma City Thunder

stephen-curry-warriors-2

The Warriors are a better team when Curry doesn’t have to do it all.

Golden State at Oklahoma City
Time: 9:30 PM, Jan 17, 2014
TV: ESPN
Spread: OKC -1
Total: 206

Betting odds courtesy of Bovada

The Golden State Warriors have won 8 of its past 10 games to improve to 25-15 on the season, but the team will find itself underdogs on the road in Oklahoma City, where the Thunder are favored by one point according to NBA oddsmakers at Bovada. The Thunder are 16-3 at home on the season, while the Warriors are a pretty decent road team at 13-10. The teams have split their two meetings thus far this season, but the Thunder have won nine straight at home against the Warriors.

Russell Westbrook is still recovering from knee surgery and won’t be back until after the All-Star break, but Reggie Jackson has stepped up admirably in his place. Jackson is averaging 13.1 points and 3.7 assists this season and he’s scored 13 or more in four of the last past five contests. Jackson had 23 points last night in the victory over Houston, as the Boston College product shot 11-of-19 from the floor, while also recording six steals on the defensive end.

The Thunder have been a dominant team on the glass this season, too. OKC ranks 1st in the league in rebounding (46.9 per game) and has no problem scoring the ball, even with Westbrook on the shelf. The Thunder rank 6th in the Association in scoring, averaging 104.7 points per game, while allowing just 97.6 from opponents.

Kevin Durant is posting an outstanding PER of 29.6 and ranks 1st among small forwards defensively in points allowed in isolation, while also ranking 3rd among small forwards in pick and roll defense. He’s improved on both ends of the court, and the defensive improvements are surprising considering the even heavier offensive load he’s carrying with Westbrook out.

Durant is averaging 30 points, 7.3 rebounds and five assists, and should be in strong consideration for this year’s MVP award. Defensive juggernaut Serge Ibaka has been solid, too, shooting above 50 percent from the floor and averaging a career high 14.1 points per game. The Thunder are clicking with Westbrook out, so if they can smoothly re-integrate when the explosive point guard returns, the Thunder could upset the Heat finally this season.

Golden State will bank heavily on Stephen Curry as usual. The guard is averaging 23 points per game this season. He’s done even better against OKC, posting 27 points per game in the two contests this season. It’s interesting to note, however, that Curry only averages 20.2 points per game in the Warriors’ 25 victories this season, while posting gaudier numbers in the losses (28.8 points per game). This suggests Curry needs to keep his teammates involved, and Klay Thompson should enable that given his sharpshooting and need for touches. The Warriors also just acquired Jordan Crawford and MarShon Brooks from Boston in a 3-team trade, and Crawford should be a welcome addition as a playmaker to take some pressure off Curry.

Golden State Trends: UNDER 6-0 in last 6 following SU losses; OVER 4-0 in last 4 vs teams with winning SU records; 1-4 ATS in last 5 Friday games.

OKC Trends: UNDER 4-0 in last 4 overall; 0-5 ATS in last 5 following SU win of more than 10 points; OVER 4-0 in last 4 vs teams with winning SU records.

Head-to-head:
OVER 4-0 in last 4 meetings; OVER 6-1 in last 7 in OKC; Warriors 2-7 ATS in last 9 meetings.

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Posted by on Jan 17 2014. Filed under Headlines, NBA. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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