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Betting Lakers Thunder – Lakers Look For Answers Against Rising Thunder

Posted by Craig Parsons on 2/10/2014 4:16:11 AM

After years of the Los Angeles Lakers running the show in the NBA's Western conference, there finally seems to be a team ready to take over that role going forward. The Oklahoma City Thunder have matured at an incredible rate this season, winning 25 of their first 32 games to climb to the top of the standings in the west. Oklahoma City's strong play has included winning an incredible 13 of its first 14 games at home, with its only loss coming in the second half of back-to-back games against the Portland Trail Blazers following a big sports bet win over the defending NBA champion Dallas Mavericks.

Los Angeles Lakers @ Oklahoma City Thunder
Thursday February 23, 2012 – 9:30 PM ET
Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
NBA Sportsbook Line: Oklahoma City Thunder

Tensions boiled over in the Lakers' locker room following a disappointing loss to the Phoenix Suns, with Kobe Bryant going off on management about their indecision concerning whether or not to trade Pau Gasol. Bryant's frustrations could just be about his team's inability to get the job done, or his own personal struggles in certain situations, but either way things could be coming apart for Los Angeles.

NBA Betting Preview: Los Angeles Lakers

Bryant is actually leading the NBA in points per game this season with an average of 29.0, but his percentages are down, especially from beyond the arc. Any success that the Lakers are going to have this season will have to begin and end with the tandem of Bryant and Pau Gasol, but the team has really been hurt by a lack of secondary scoring off the bench. Bryant, Gasol, and Andrew Bynum are all averaging more than 16 points per game, but after that there is a major dip with Matt Barnes, Steve Blake, and Derek Fisher each averaging less than eight with some of the minutes that would have been given to Lamar Odom if he had not been traded.

NBA Betting Preview: Oklahoma City Thunder

The tandem of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook has established itself as one of the elite in the NBA this season, with both players ranking in the top-five in points per game. Durant is averaging 27.7 points per game, but the more impressive feat so far has been Westbrook, with an average of 23.4. Westbrook has altered his approach and style to better fit the Thunder system behind Durant, and the result has been his elevation as one of the top players in the NBA regardless of position. James Harden and Serge Ibaka have provided Oklahoma City with excellent scoring depth, and with Durant and Westbrook leading the show this could be the year of the Thunder.

NBA Betting Preview: Outlook & Pick

This will be the first sports bet contest between these teams this season, and while the Thunder are rolling at the top of the Western conference, the Lakers should be motivated to bring a good effort on the road. Oklahoma City is in the spot Los Angeles wants, and while they may not win straight up on the road, Bryant and company should be able to at least keep this game close down to the wire.

NBA Betting Pick: Los Angeles Lakers



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