Russell Westbrook’s self-combustion on Thursday overshadowed the fine demolition job which Oklahoma City pulled off over Memphis, but he’ll surely aim to control his emotions a little better in Saturday’s trip to Cleveland. However, the Thunder guard has always been a fiery character – and it’s done his team little harm, so it’s not a sign of impending doom among the Western Conference favourites.
OKC are a league-best 15-8 on the road and they’re favoured by -10 on the handicap to drop the Cavaliers. The hosts have lost their last two games, to Golden State and Detroit, by an average of 15.5. With the Thunder’s efficient offense likely to cause them untold problems, it could be another evening of despair in Cleveland in a game that should go over the total points line of 204.0, available at 1.91.
New York’s frenetic early season scoring pace has slowed of late. But that’s OK because their defence has started to come up trumps, with the Knicks conceding a measly average of 91.5 points per game over their last ten. That’s translated into six wins and four defeats but they’ll surely hope for victory when Sacramento visit Madison Square Garden.
The Kings have lost six of their last seven, and are just 5-19 on the road. Significantly, DeMarcus Cousins has dropped into a scoring funk and their recent history of blowouts suggests New York can come good on their handicap of -10.5.
Houston will be glad of home comforts in February after a road-heavy schedule in January. There’s no better sighting than the woeful Bobcats coming to the door; Charlotte have lost four out of five, including a 100-94 reverse to the Rockets on January 21. They also tend to lose big on the road which is why Houston are a tempting -12.5 on the handicap.
Bet of the day: Take Oklahoma City on the handicap over Cleveland.