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Oklahoma City Must Step It Up In Oakland Against Golden State

Posted by Craig Parsons on 4/10/2013 7:15:39 PM

The Oklahoma City Thunder are locked in a furious battle with the San Antonio Spurs for the top seed in the Western Conference. This Thursday’s game against Golden State could prove pivotal.

Oklahoma City Thunder @ Golden State Warriors – Thursday, April 11     
Online sports betting line: No line

Why Oklahoma City Will Win

The college football betting experts looking for some betting action before late August might gravitate to this contest in Oakland. They’ll stand on solid ground if they want to pick the Thunder. Oklahoma City, for all the times it might drift on the floor, still has two of the top weapons in the NBA in the persons of scoring juggernaut Kevin Durant and the fleet-footed Russell Westbrook. Oklahoma City has, in Durant, an elite scorer whose length often enables him to shoot over the top of smaller defenders.

Durant, though, is unafraid to take the ball to the basket, and his speed in transition makes him a lethal finisher near the rim. He’s not just a one-trick pony who pumps in long threes, though he’s certainly one of the best in the NBA at hitting high-degree-of-difficulty shots from considerable distances. Westbrook is a breakdown point guard, meaning that he can easily break down his man off the dribble and cause defenses to collapse, thereby creating a lot of high-quality shots for his teammates who are left alone by help defenders.

All in all, Oklahoma City has length, offensive balance, quickness, and depth, several primary ingredients of a title contender. It does what Golden State does, only better. The Thunder have the Warriors’ offensive weaponry, only to a greater extent.

Why Golden State Will Win

The best betting reason to take the Warriors in this game is that while Oklahoma City is more talented, it is not playing much of any defense at the moment. The Thunder conceded a whopping 19 offensive rebounds to the New York Knicks on Sunday, faltering in crunch time against an opponent that plainly wanted to win with much more hunger.

This should not have been the case for Oklahoma City, given that it is immersed in a fierce competition with the San Antonio Spurs for the number one playoff seed in the Western Conference. A team that should have been overflowing with motivation and energy was instead rather team in meaningful moments.

The Thunder are not taking care of business with the directness and ruthlessness one would expect from a conference champion, a team that has already made the journey to the NBA Finals and is expected to take the next step in due time. It’s true that the Miami Heat are the favorites to win the NBA championship this season, but Oklahoma City is definitely viewed as a team that should be able to get back to the Finals. If it doesn’t, this season is going to be looked upon as a profound disappointment. Should the Thunder fail to elevate their level of performance at the defensive end, they’re going to be miserable in this game against Golden State… and in late May, too.

Who Will Win

Ultimately, the Thunder – smarting from that loss to New York – are probably going to take out their frustrations on the Warriors. Oklahoma City knows that much is at stake this week.

NBA Basketball Betting Pick: Oklahoma City

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