OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER (37-10)
at BROOKLYN NETS (20-23)
Tip-off: Friday, 8:05 p.m. ET
Line: Oklahoma City -3.5, Total: 198
The Nets host the Thunder on Friday night, looking to snap their winning streak before it reaches 10.
Oklahoma City has won nine straight games (8-1 ATS), averaging 109.1 PPG during that streak. The Nets have also played great basketball recently, winning 10 of their past 12 contests (9-3 ATS). Brooklyn’s opponents have averaged just 93.3 PPG during that stretch. The last time these teams met on Jan. 2, the Thunder lost 95-93 at home as 12-point favorites, but Oklahoma City had won the previous four road games (3-1 ATS) against the Nets. Over the past two seasons, the Thunder are 44-25 ATS (64%) after scoring 105+ points in their previous game, but Brooklyn is 5-1 ATS (83%) over the past three seasons after two straight games where they had 10+ steals. Since 1996, nine of the past 15 games played in this series at Brooklyn have gone Over the total.
Will the Thunder roll to a 10th straight victory on Friday night? For the answer, connect to The Platinum Sheet for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. StatFox Dave has an excellent 61% ATS (27-17) Best Bets record since Dec. 1 and is 54% ATS (37-31) on Best Bets for the season. StatFox Zach has a strong 57% ATS mark (24-18-1) on Best Bets since Dec. 1 and is currently 52% ATS (35-32-1) on Best Bets for the season. StatFox Scott is 55% ATS (18-15) in Best Bets since Dec. 16.
The Thunder are the hottest team in the league and SF Kevin Durant (31.3 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 5.2 APG) continues to play at a level nobody else in the league can touch. In the month of January, Durant is averaging 36.6 PPG (54% FG, 42% threes), 6.3 RPG and 6.0 APG. He did, however, score just 24 points in the Jan. 2 meeting with Brooklyn. SG Jeremy Lamb (10.2 PPG) has provided the Thunder with a good offensive option off the bench as of late. He is averaging 16.0 PPG over the past two games and Oklahoma City could really use a solid performance from him as the Nets defense has been excellent this month. PF Serge Ibaka (14.7 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 2.5 BPG) had 22 points and eight rebounds in the Thunder's win over the Heat on Wednesday. He will need to be more aggressive offensively than he was in the last meeting with the Nets in which he scored just 10 points (5-of-9 FG) in 34 minutes. PG Reggie Jackson (13.4 PPG, 4.0 APG, 3.8 RPG) has been playing excellent as the starting point guard for Oklahoma City, averaging 14.9 PPG and 4.8 APG in the month of January, and he will need to play well in this game going against Deron Williams and the Nets.
Brooklyn has played great basketball this month, but lost its last game on Monday to the Raptors 104-103. PG Deron Williams (13.2 PPG, 7.1 APG) played a good game for the Nets in that one with nine points and 11 assists in 29 minutes of play. Brooklyn will need Williams to start scoring more if it is going to be an elite team for the rest of the season. He is averaging just 11.2 PPG over the past five contests. SF Paul Pierce (13.3 PPG, 4.8 RPG) had a great game in the loss to Toronto with 33 points (10-of-16 FG, 7-of-10 threes) and six rebounds. Pierce will need to play well with a matchup with Kevin Durant where nobody will expect him to outplay the Thunder superstar. SG Joe Johnson (15.7 PPG) must get back on track as he has struggled severely over the past five games, averaging just 12.2 PPG (42% FG, 33% threes). Johnson had only nine points in the most recent meeting with the Thunder, but he did hit the game-winner for Brooklyn that night.