Warriors at Thunder
March 15, 2019
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by Kyle Markus
NBA Game Preview - Golden State Warriors at Oklahoma City Thunder
The Golden State Warriors broke out of a mini-funk last time out, beating the Rockets on the road even without Kevin Durant. It was a good reminder to a potential contender that the Warriors are still the top dog, and they will aim to flex that muscle once again against another foe that is aiming to knock them off the throne. The Warriors have another tough road game next time out when they travel to face off against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Oklahoma City boasts a superstar duo in Russell Westbrook and Paul George, although Golden State still has the deeper and more well-rounded team. The home court advantage is a big plus for the Thunder in this one, which could make the oddsmakers set the spread quite small in NBA betting lines.
This NBA basketball game between the Golden State Warriors and Oklahoma City Thunder will be held at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Canada at 8:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, March 16th, 2019. The game will be nationally televised on ABC.
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The Warriors have a record of 46-21 on the season. While the season has not gone as smoothly as expected, the team is still in first place in the Western Conference heading down the stretch. The two-point win over the Rockets last time out was critical to keep Golden State ahead of the hard-charging Nuggets. The Warriors are 22-11 on the road this season so they will be confident in the ability to come away with the victory here.
The Thunder has a mark of 42-27 overall, which is tied with the Rockets for third place in the West. Oklahoma City is just 4-6 in its past 10 games and blew a big lead to the Pacers last time out. The Thunder has gone 23-9 at home this year and will not be intimidated by the Warriors in NBA wagering.
Durant recently suffered an ankle injury that kept him out against Houston. Coach Steve Kerr said he expects Durant to return to the court sometime in the next few games, although that statement doesn’t seem to bode well for his availability in this one. There is no doubt Durant would love to play against his former team, but it may not happen.
If he is sidelined, it’s a monumental loss. Durant is averaging 27.4 points, 6.7 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game this season, shooting 51.3 percent from the field and 35.9 percent from three-point range. Few teams could adequately absorb the absence of a superstar like this, but the Warriors showed they could win without him against the Rockets.
Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins are good enough offensively to pick up the slack once again if needed.
Player To Watch
Russell Westbrook -- The Thunder’s athletic point guard is almost guaranteed to get a triple-double in this game because he basically does it every other time out. However, the big key will be how efficiently he shoots the ball from the field. Oklahoma City will get some nice scoring numbers out of Paul George, but Westbrook has to be that second option.
He is connecting on only 43 percent of his shots from the floor and 28.9 percent of his three-point attempts. Westbrook has been better than that of late, hitting 51.2 percent of his shots and shooting 46.2 percent from downtown over his past five games. If he can keep that up, the Thunder has a great shot at winning.
Free NBA ATS Picks
The Warriors picked up one impressive road win this week but the second attempt will fall short. The absence of Durant will be too much to overcome in this one, as Oklahoma City is going to play at a feverish pace knowing what kind of statement it would be to get a win.
Westbrook is going to be the best player on a court full of superstars to help his team to the victory. If the Thunder is a slight underdog, take it on the moneyline. If it is the slight favorite, take Oklahoma City against the spread in NBA odds.
NBA ATS Pick: Oklahoma City Thunder 116, Golden State Warriors 112
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