The Oklahoma City Thunder have emerged from a mini-slump with consecutive victories, but after squashing Milwaukee and Toronto, the assuredness of their ascent will be probed against the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday.
Much is at stake for both teams. For the hosts, more proof is required that when Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook occasionally falter, others can pick up the defensive slack. For the Clippers, just 1 ½ games behind the neighbouring Lakers, the opportunity to win their division for the first time ever in their ignominious history is still very much alive.
The Clippers are giving up an averaging of 94.5 points per game but only in four out of their last ten games have they held opponents to less than that. And last month, they lost 114-91 when these two sides last met with OKC able to shoot 53.8%, while holding Blake Griffin to just seven points.
Even at -8 (available at 1.91), OKC are worth a punt to win this and expect the two teams to go over 196 points once again.
Dropping like flies in recent weeks, the Philadelphia 76ers are now fighting for their play-off lives. And they’ll try to win consecutively for the first time in exactly one month when they visit Toronto. Having throttled New Jersey on Tuesday, the Sixers are favoured by 4 points and they should leave the Raptors extinct.
Elsewhere, the San Antonio Spurs have efficiently built a challenge to Oklahoma City at the top of the Western Conference, deliberately resting their trio of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker with one eye on the play-offs. The Spurs are at generous odds of 4.5 to win the West this season and 8 to win the title. Given the flaws in Miami, and Derrick Rose’s injury concerns in Chicago, either is worth a look.
Bet of the Day: Take Oklahoma City to beat the LA Clippers by more than 8 points at 1.91.