OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER (22-5)
at NEW YORK KNICKS (9-18)
Tip-off: Wednesday, 2:30 p.m. ET
Line: Oklahoma City -8, Total: 200
The Thunder will head to Madison Square Garden to take on a struggling Knicks team on Christmas Day.
Oklahoma City and New York are heading in completely opposite directions. While the Thunder are 22-5 SU (15-12 ATS) overall and 9-4 SU (8-5 ATS) on the road, the Knicks have been horrible on their home court, going 4-10 SU (3-11 ATS) and allowing 101.2 PPG, nearly seven points more than they allow on the road. The Thunder have a 7-3 SU advantage in the past 10 meetings of this series, but are just 3-7 ATS in these contests. Last season, these two teams met twice with the road team coming away with the SU win. The most recent of the two games was a Knicks 125-120 victory on April 7 with Carmelo Anthony scoring 36 points to go along with 12 rebounds. PG Raymond Felton is expected to play against the Thunder despite dealing with a lingering hamstring issue over the past few weeks.
Will the Knicks pick up a rare home win over the red-hot Thunder? For the answer, connect to The Platinum Sheet for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. The five experts are absolutely sizzling on NBA Best Bets in December, going 67% ATS (47-23) including 21-2 ATS (91%) since Dec. 16. During the month, StatFox Zach has an astronomical 93% ATS mark (13-1) and is currently 62% ATS (24-15) on Best Bets for the season. StatFox Dave has an excellent 81% ATS (13-3) Best Bets record in December and is 58% ATS (23-17) on Best Bets for the season. Since Dec. 16, StatFox Gary is 4-0 ATS, while both StatFox Brian and StatFox Scott are 3-1 ATS
Oklahoma City has been one of the league’s best teams this season, going 17-2 SU (12-7 ATS) in its past 19 games. However, one of those losses came at home to the 10-point underdog Raptors on Sunday. Over the past five games, PG Russell Westbrook is averaging 23.8 PPG, 8.0 RPG and 7.4 APG. He should be able to torch the Knicks, who are horrendous at defending opposing point guards, just like he did in April when he lit up New York for 37 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists. SF Kevin Durant has improved his game every season in the NBA and this year he is averaging 28.1 PPG and 8.1 RPG to go along with 4.7 APG. He also had a big game in the last meeting with the New York, scoring 27 points with seven assists and four blocks. The Thunder are the NBA’s best rebounding team with 47.4 RPG and they are tough to stop defensively with 105.7 PPG on 46.7% FG. Their defense has been outstanding this year as well, allowing just 98.6 PPG on 41.8% FG. PF Serge Ibaka anchors the Thunder defense with 2.4 BPG and averages nearly a double-double with 14.0 PPG and 9.3 RPG.
The Knicks have been lousy this season to say the least, and have already matched last season’s loss total on their home floor with 10 in the early going of this season. SF Carmelo Anthony has been the only player showing up on a nightly basis for New York as the team's only consistent scorer. The Knicks have been active in trade talks searching for answers to their mysteriously bad start to the season, but they have done nothing so far. One of the few bright spots for this team has been the play of first round pick, SG Tim Hardaway Jr. The rookie is playing less than half of the game's minutes, but is knocking down threes on an impressive clip. The three-point shot was key to New York's win at Oklahoma City in April when the team knocked down 15-of-34 threes.