Oklahoma City – LA Clippers
After their worst loss in three years, can the Oklahoma City Thunder bounce back on Sunday to re-assert their NBA title credentials?
OKC are 1.52 to defeat the Los Angeles Clippers on their own court but the Thunder will need to make more noise than in Thursday’s 103-81 loss to the Miami Heat that left many wondering if they have enough to go the distance in the championship race.
But it’s not yet time to write off their hopes. The return of Russell Westbrook after almost two months on the sidelines always carried the risk of knocking off their chemistry and so it proved, with Kevin Durant failing to find shots and the readjustment proving problematic.
The reality is that Oklahoma City are a better team with their All Star guard and it’s still worth a punt on them to win the West at 2.20. And while Kendrick Perkins will miss out against the Clippers, there’s a case that OKC is better without him.
The Clippers – 4.85 for the Conference - are still a force to be reckoned with if they can continue to develop their own identity but they’ve lost two straight and five out of ten. It’s still hard to envisage them going deep into the post-season.
And with the Thunder 15-1 at home against the West, take OKC to bounce back at 1.93 on the handicap of -4.5.
Cleveland – Washington
The scrap for the lower play-off places in the Eastern Conference promises to be intriguing with nine teams realistically battling for six spots.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have reinvigorated their hopes of catching up with the pack following six wins from their last seven and the addition of Spencer Hawes gives them much-needed depth at centre.
The Cavs host the Washington Wizards, who have stumbled in their chase for third place in the standings, including a 115-113 loss when these two teams met earlier this month.
And even though the marquee match-up between All Star team-mates John Wall and Kyrie Irving will take centre stage, back Cleveland to steal the limelight on the handicap of -1 at 1.90.
Best bet: Go over 210 total points in Oklahoma City – LA Clippers at 1.94.