OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER (31-8)
at DALLAS MAVERICKS (17-23)
Tip-off: Friday, 9:35 p.m. ET
Line: Oklahoma City -4, Total: 205.5
Two sizzling-hot teams square off on Friday night when the Thunder visit the Mavericks.
Oklahoma City has won five straight games (4-0-1 ATS) with three of those coming on the road, while Dallas has won four straight SU and five in row ATS. The Thunder won the lone meeting this year on Dec. 27, 111-105 in overtime, marking their seventh straight victory in this series (including playoffs). They are also 11-2 ATS in the past 13 trips to Dallas, including three straight SU victories by 9, 16 and 6 points. Both teams are dealing with ankle injuries to players with the last name Collison, as Oklahoma City's PF Nick Collison is questionable, but Darren Collison of Dallas has been upgraded to probable for Friday's game.
Which team will extend its long winning streak on Friday? For the answer, connect to NBA Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. StatFox Brian is 24-14 ATS (63.2%) on NBA Best Bets since Dec. 23, giving him a 55% ATS mark (63-52-3) for the season. StatFox Scott has a season Best Bets mark of 52.4% ATS (54-49), with Gary at 52% ATS (48-45-4) for the season. The four experts are collectively 51.1% ATS (240-230-11) on Best Bets for the season. For NBA Totals, Scott is 3-0 in the past three days, boosting his impressive season NBA Totals record to 56-40 (58%). Brian has gone 4-1 in NBA Totals since Sunday.
The Thunder lead the NBA in scoring (105.4 PPG) and three-point shooting (39.2%), while placing third in overall FG Pct. (47.9%). The defense allows 96.0 PPG (8th in NBA), and has been even stingier during the five-game win streak, giving up just 91.0 PPG on 40.9% FG and 25.7% threes. SF Kevin Durant continues to have a monster season with 28.7 PPG (3rd in NBA). He has scored at least 20 points in 15 straight games, averaging 31.3 PPG on 54% FG and 90% FT during this streak. In last season's playoff series sweep of Dallas, he averaged 26.5 PPG and 7.5 RPG, and then scored 40 points with eight boards in the Dec. 27 meeting. PG Russell Westbrook also dominated the Mavs in the playoffs with 22.3 PPG and 4.3 APG. Not only does he average 8.3 APG this season (5th in NBA), but he's been on a scoring surge this past week, dropping 36 points in Phoenix and then netting 32 in Wednesday's 117-97 home rout of Denver. Defensively, Westbrook's 2.03 SPG places him fourth in the league. Speaking of defense, PF Serge Ibaka has been a shot-blocking force with 2.9 BPG (2nd in NBA) this season, and he's also making 56.4% of his field goals (4th in league). After missing two games with a chest injury, he returned on Wednesday to block five shots and grab six boards in 27 minutes of action. SG Kevin Martin (15.1 PPG) has been blistering the nets from long range all year (43.2%, T-6th in NBA), and just scored 20 points in 19 minutes on Wednesday.
Dallas scores 99.6 PPG (10th in NBA) this season, but gives up 102.5 PPG (4th-most in NBA). However, the Mavs have been much more efficient on both ends of the court during their winning streak, pumping in 109.8 PPG on 47% FG, while allowing just 98.3 PPG on 42% FG. PF Dirk Nowitzki has averaged a pedestrian 15.8 PPG and 6.3 RPG during the win streak, but he was much more potent in last year's playoffs versus the Thunder with 26.8 PPG on 44% FG and 91% FT (38-of-42). SG O.J. Mayo leads the team with 18.3 PPG this season, which is the same exact average he has during the four-game win streak to go along with 6.5 APG and 6.5 RPG. He made 8-of-11 shots in Monday's win over Minnesota, but connected on just 3-of-14 attempts on Wednesday. Four other Mavs players average double-figures in scoring, with PG Darren Collison (12.9 PPG) also leading the club in assists (5.1 APG). He has 18 assists and just five turnovers in his past three games combined, and tallied a season-high 32 points when these teams last met on Dec. 27, a 111-105 overtime win for Oklahoma City. SF Shawn Marion (10.4 PPG, 8.2 RPG) has been on a scoring tear in during the four-game win streak, putting up 15.5 PPG on 57% FG, while grabbing 7.8 RPG.