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Harden Trade Rearing Its Ugly Head For Thunder Fans

Posted by Craig Parsons on 5/2/2013 7:26:25 PM

When the Oklahoma City Thunder traded James Harden to the Houston Rockets in exchange for a package that included Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb, and draft picks, the consensus was that both teams won in the deal. The Rockets got the superstar they needed, while the Thunder unloaded a superstar they couldn’t afford to keep in exchange for a couple of quality pieces and picks. Fast forward to the NBA Western Conference first round, and the impact of that trade could be bigger than ever expected. Oklahoma City leads its best-of-7 series three-games-to-two, but Houston has won consecutive online sportsbook games and is heading home for game six on Friday night.

Western Conference Quarterfinal
Oklahoma City Thunder @ Houston Rockets
Friday, 9:30 PM ET – Game 6
Thunder lead 3-2

The Thunder decided that Harden was the odd man out when they opted to keep Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Serge Ibaka as its core nucleus. However, Westbrook has a torn Achilles and will miss the rest of the playoffs, and Harden has torched Oklahoma City in back-to-back games to close the series deficit to one game with home advantage for game six. This is the risk that the Thunder took when they deal Harden within the conference, as they opted to take the best possible deal regardless of the potential to face a Harden-lead Rockets team in this type of situation. No team has come back from a three-game series deficit and won in NBA playoff history, but considering the way the momentum in this sports betting series has shifted, it’s hard to imagine Houston not winning game six and at least forcing the seventh game.

NBA Betting Pick: Houston Rockets – 2.5

Western Conference Quarterfinal
Los Angeles Clippers @ Memphis Grizzlies
Friday, 9:30 PM ET – Game 6
Grizzlies lead 3-2

The one team that seemed to fly under the radar heading in to these playoffs was the Grizzlies. That is certainly not the case anymore. Memphis returns home for game six of its first round series against the Clippers with the chance to win and advance to the second round, and they won’t want to let the opportunity slip away and have to go back to Los Angeles for game seven. The physical style that the Grizzlies have played has been the difference in this online betting series, as it has worn down the skilled superstars on this Clippers’ roster. Blake Griffin is playing through an ankle injury, Chris Paul can’t make a move to the basket without getting an extra bump, and through this whole series Los Angeles has failed to adjust to what the Grizzlies have done. Clippers’ Head coach Vinny Del Negro has been on the hot seat before, but this time it is clearer than ever that he isn’t the right person for the job, and it’s only a matter of time before Memphis seals his fate with a game-six win.

NBA Betting Pick: Memphis Grizzlies – 3.5

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