The Defending Western Conference champion Oklahoma City Thunder (3-2) will travel to Chicago tonight to face the Bulls (3-2) in one of the better preseason match ups we’ll see this month. Not surprisingly, the Thunder have been led so far in the preseason by their two superstars, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. After dropping their first two road games in Houston and Utah the Thunder have rattled off three straight impressive home wins. Highlighting this streak has been the impressive play of rookie forward Perry Jones III, who is averaging 10.8 points per game so far on 64.5% shooting. If Jones keeps up this level of play the Thunder may have just found their fourth star.
The Bulls have been just as good so far in the preseason. They have lost only two games by a combined 10 points and have won their last two against Milwaukee and Minnesota. Their leading scorer so far is journeyman Nate Robinson, someone fighting for every minute of playing time he can. The Derrick Rose-less Bulls aren’t built around individual scorers though, and their stifling defense has been as good as ever in the preseason giving up only 84.2 points per game.
Betting Pick: Thunder @ Bulls (-4)
So far in the preseason home teams are an incredible 60-28 straight up, and considering Oklahoma City’s 0-2 road-record I’d say that trend means a lot here. NBA teams generally don’t take preseason games very seriously, particularly on the road, so grabbing the home team is always a smart play. The Bulls have one of the best home-court advantages in basketball as they’ve gone 62-12 at the United Center over the past two years. It’s simply too much to ask of the Thunder to go on the road and play hard against a really physical Bulls team in a game that doesn’t matter. The Bulls on the other hand are still figuring out their identity without Rose and a win against Oklahoma City would be a big morale boost for them. Never take an unmotivated contender on the road against a hungry underdog with everything to play for. Grab the Bulls at home in this one.
Play: Chicago Bulls -4 (5Dimes.eu)
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