There’s undisputed kings of the west in the NBA now after Oklahoma City’s demolition of the Chris Paul-less Clippers on Tuesday but the Thunder’s challenges keep on coming in the shape of a trip to Golden State tonight.
And the Warriors will be on their guard against Kevin Durant who racked up the first triple-double of his career against them in a 119-109 victory for OKC earlier this season. The Thunder’s league-best 33-9 record includes a 6-2 record on back-to-backs, second only to Miami, and they’re 1.87 favourites here.
But the Warriors have bounced back from a mini-slide when Stephen Curry was out injured and they’ve had solid, if narrow, wins over both the Clippers and New Orleans. This promises to be a three-point shootout and on recent form, these sides should sail over the points line of 206. But don’t be shocked if the Golden State hold sway.
On current evidence, Durant is unquestionably the MVP of the season so far and he’s now at 1.95 for the award, ahead of LeBron James (2.20), Chris Paul (5.00) and Carmelo Anthony (17.00). No-one else has a shot.
There’s another high-scoring clash in prospect in Houston where Denver are the visitors but the Rockets haven’t been the reliable offensive juggernaut they were at the outset of this campaign. James Harden has been consistent but others have ebbed and flowed during a 3-7 run over their last ten games, forcing an internal inquest.
The Nuggets come off an impressive win over the Thunder and they’ve been lifted by the improved play of point guard Ty Lawson. They look great value at 2.16 for victory.
The NBA’s two most troubled teams come together as Sacramento host Phoenix in what is the first game in charge for Suns interim coach Lindsey Hunter. His shock appointment has led to an exodus from the existing coaching staff plus a lack of enthusiasm from the players. We’ll find out soon enough if he can cut it in his first-ever game coaching at any level but form lately suggests the Kings should reign on the handicap of -3.5.
Bet of the Day: Take Denver to beat Houston at 2.16.