Two of the highest scoring teams in the NBA meet on Friday night as the Oklahoma City Thunder travel to face the Denver Nuggets. The top two teams in the Northwest division are currently separated by six games and each ride three-game winning streaks into this contest.
Oklahoma City and Denver met twice in January with the home team winning each time. This is the third game in the series with the final contest in Oklahoma City on March 19.
After a rocky spell, last year’s Western conference champion Thunder have pulled off three straight victories and Russell Westbrook seems to be firing again. He hit 29 points in his team’s thumping of the New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday night. Meanwhile, Kevin Durant has been going through a subdued spell. He picked up a triple-double on Wednesday, but put up just eight field goal attempts and scored fewer than 20 points for the third time in four games.
Oklahoma City welcomed a new face on the guard front after signing free agent Derek Fisher to a contract. Fisher went 0-for-4 with two assists in his debut for the Thunder. The Thunder are dealing with a few concerns about the balance of their line-up right now and they will know that they have a point to prove against a strong and red hot Denver.
The Nuggets should enter tonight’s contest with all the confidence in the world. They’ve won nine straight home games and 14 of their last 15. A lot of that has come behind the dynamic offensive output of guard Ty Lawson. The fourth year pro has marshaled this offense over the past month or so scoring 20+ points in 10 of Denver’s 12 games in February.
This a match-up between two of the NBA’s very best offenses. The Thunder leads the league scoring 106.8 points per game, while the Nuggets currently rank third averaging 105.5. However, Denver has been firing on all cylinders of late averaging 112.6 points per game on a current 13-4 streak. They have scored 110+ points in each of their last four games.
Oklahoma City should be up for the challenge though and Westbrook and Durant have been particularly good against Denver in recent games both averaging more than 30 points per game in the last five meetings between the two clubs. It’s pretty clear that this will be a high-scoring offensive match-up.
Betting Preview: Denver (+1.5) vs. Oklahoma City
Given the recent home form of the Nuggets, the tightness of this line shouldn’t be surprising. There are three reasons that the Thunder are the pick to win this game though. Firstly, Kevin Durant is due an explosion and he has put up some pretty hefty numbers against Denver in recent meetings. Secondly, Oklahoma City have a little something to prove right now and a game against a big division rival is just what this team needs to kick start some momentum. Thirdly and finally, Denver’s hot spell is due to end and a big time game against OKC really does feel like the perfect storm.
The Pick: The Thunder (-1.5) (5dimes.eu)