There’s a dogfight in prospect between the NBA’s top guns on Friday night as Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant, the league’s two leading scorers, go head to head when Oklahoma City host the Los Angeles Lakers.
LA would love a little revenge for their 4-1 series loss to the Thunder in last season’s Conference semi-finals but they have much more pressing concerns. Steve Blake is now out for two months following surgery, Pau Gasol may rest up for the third straight game and their team are just 4-6 against opponents with winning records so far this season, with just two victories coming on the road.
That suggests a comfortable time for OKC, who are -8 on the handicap after winning six straight. And the Thunder are outscoring sides by a mammoth 9.6 points per game. They’re 13-1 when they score 100 or more and with the Lakers leaning entirely on offence, it’s no shock that the total points forecast is 211 at 1.91.
Philadelphia and Boston are both off to 10-8 starts and they meet on consecutive nights to try and break that deadlock. It’s the second meeting between them this term; the 76ers emerged 106-100 winners last month when Jrue Holiday had 21 points. Such big numbers have been increasingly typical with Philly, who are averaging 88.6 per game, improving to 5-1 when they push up their output to 100+. While the Celtics are favourites by -1.0 on the handicap, have a look at taking over the total points of 188 at 1.91.
Cleveland’s resurgence has failed to arrive this season and with Kyrie Irving now joined by Dion Waters on the sidelines, it could spell trouble at Minnesota. The Timberwolves are just 3-5 since Kevin Love returned but there are signs of subtle improvement which should see them lance the Cavaliers.
Bet of the day: Go over 188 total points in Boston-Philadelphia.