OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER (9-3)
at BOSTON CELTICS (6-6)
Tip-off: Friday, 7:35 p.m. ET
Line: Oklahoma City -3.5, Total: 198
High-flying Oklahoma City aims for a fourth consecutive victory when it visits slumping Boston on Friday night.
While the Thunder have scored at least 110 points in all three of their wins, the Celtics have given up more than 100 points in three of their past four contests, losing all three. Oklahoma City is 3-1 SU (2-1-1 ATS) on the road this season, allowing just 90.5 PPG on 42% FG to the host teams. Boston is a pedestrian 3-3 SU (1-4-1 ATS) at home this season, surrendering 98.8 PPG on 46% FG to visiting clubs. The Thunder have won three straight in this series (SU and ATS) and have also taken three in a row at TD Garden (SU and ATS).
Can the Thunder extend their win streak in a tough road environment? For the answer, connect to NBA Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. This season, the experts are a collective 68-59-8 ATS (54%) in NBA Best Bets after going 8-3 ATS (73%) on Wednesday. StatFox Gary leads the way at 63% ATS (10-6-2) Best Bets for the year, as he's currently on a 5-1 ATS run. StatFox Scott is at 55% ATS (16-13) Best Bets for the season with StatFox Brian close behind at 54% ATS (19-16-3). StatFox Dave is also heating up with a 4-0 ATS mark since Tuesday. For NBA Totals, StatFox Scott is 12-2 since Nov. 11, boosting his incredible season mark to 25-7 ATS (78%) on NBA Totals.
Oklahoma City has completely recovered from its 1-2 start to the season, winning eight of nine SU (6-3 ATS) since then. The two stars are carrying this team as SF Kevin Durant is averaging 26.3 PPG (51% FG, 48% threes), 8.7 RPG and 4.0 APG during the nine-game surge with PG Russell Westbrook posting 20.6 PPG and 9.0 APG in these nine contests. Durant scored a season-high 35 points in Wednesday's 117-111 overtime win over the red-hot Clippers, and Westbrook averaged 28.5 PPG against the Celtics last season. Role players are also thriving though, especially new sixth man SG Kevin Martin, whose 20 points (6-of-10 FG, 3-of-5 threes) in Wednesday's win gives him 17.8 PPG on 50% FG (54% threes) for the season. PF Serge Ibaka also had a huge game against L.A. with 15 points and 12 boards, and reserve C Hasheem Thabeet dropped in 10 points and four boards in just 12 minutes of action. The Thunder are not known for their defense, but this season they rank fifth in the NBA with 42.8% FG defense. With Kendrick Perkins also providing the strong interior defense, the undersized Boston frontcourt that averages a league-low 35.8 PPG will certainly have its hands full on Friday night.
Cleaning up the glass has been a huge problem for Boston recently, as it has been outrebounded by 9.7 RPG during the past six contests. But the offense has been clicking for the most part with 96+ points in eight of its past nine games, an shooting 50% or better from the floor in four of the past six contests. The Celtics rank third in the league in assists thanks mostly to Rajon Rondo's league-leading 13.3 APG. No other player in the NBA is even dishing out 10 assists per game. Rondo had 22 points and 15 assists in Wednesday's 112-100 home loss to San Antonio, in a game where all five starters scored at least a dozen points. SF Paul Pierce scored 19, but had zero rebounds and just two assists in 36 minutes of action. The bench didn't give much help either, combining for a rating of minus-46 between five players.