When the doors opened at the TD Garden and the crowds began to file in, the hype surrounding this game with the locals was one of a quiet confidence. The Thunder has had a miserable start to the season and all were looking forward to adding more pain to their suffering.
Tag: Oklahoma City
Howdy folks! We’re back today with the latest team season preview taking a look at Western Conference favorites the Oklahoma City Thunder, Perennial dark horses the Philadelphia 76ers (or will they be?) and southern giant killers the San Antonio Spurs. Enjoy!
Oklahoma City Thunder
How Will They Do?
Oklahoma City are the NBA’s darlings, rising out of the ashes of the Seattle Sonics. Last year they fulfilled what most predicted – making it to the NBA Finals before being steamrolled by the Heat juggernaut. This season brings another series of high expectations and even more challenges. As the Lakers rebuilt and retooled for another assault on the title the Thunder took stock and made very few changes. Last season was an important moment for this franchise as it gave them the irrational confidence that they can now reach the highest heights. The biggest story line coming out of this camp this season will be can they re-sign James Harden? Currently the team is cash strapped. They hold the contracts of Durant, Westbrook, Perkins and Ibaka in their hands. Harden is the icing on this cake, coming off the bench with confidence, fearless determination and one of the best ball handlers in the league. Harden’s presence cements this team atop the Western Conference, without him there is an air of uncertainty. We really like how the Thunder have built upon their roster and given themselves depth at most positions. Collison & Jones backing up Ibaka & Durant as newest Thunder recruit Thabeet brings size off the bench. Harden, Maynor and Cook act as dynamite off the bench lifting the tempo of the team whenever they are on-court. Sure it’s not the deepest team in the league but it’s one of the most reliable, you know what you will get from your bench. Very similar to Moneyball it’s about working your way to a win any way you can. Coach Brooks knows this, has assembled a squad capable of challenging every team in the league. This team is one of the most explosive and dynamic in the league, a League Pass must every night. There is no doubting they have the talent, if they can just sprinkle in a dash of experience (gained from the 2011/12 Finals & Olympics) this team could destroy the Western Conference. Look for them to pick up 55-65 wins this year.
Imagine this scenario for a moment, if you will. There’s two minutes to play. You’re up by 7 points. Game two of a playoff series in a game away from home against one of the league’s youngest, fittest and most athletics teams. You know that this game is a must win to regain home court advantage and gain a minor edge in the series. You have the momentum, the desire and the will to win. The game is as good as done, and all that is required is that you maintain the same level of intensity that you have for the last 46 minutes. It’s your opposition’s ball, and they utilize it well, driving to the bucket and cutting the lead to 5 and drawing the foul. They sink the free throw. The lead is cut to 4. You regroup and discuss the next play, but to no avail. Another lost ball, this time at the hands of your most trusted player, results in a turnover and a fast break dunk at the other end. Your lead is now 2.
The Nuggets are bobbing in and out of playoff contention. With their huge win today their chances firm . They sit at 7th in the West one game clear of 8th placed Houston and one game clear of facing the ferocious Thunder in Round 1. Denver has 6 games in 11 days before the playoffs begin, only 1 game against the East, so each game will be critical.
April 16 @ Houston
The Nuggets spanked the Rockets in Denver today by 15 points after leading by as many as 20 points. Faried dropped a double-double and is emerging as another great draft pick from the post-Anthony era. The Rockets don’t have anyone who matches up against his big body as well as an OKC or San Antonio. It’ll be a tight hard fought game but the Nuggets should eek out a win.
April 18 vs Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers lead the season series 2-1 and this is a crucial game for both teams. The Clippers will want to come to Denver and pick up a win away from home heading into the playoffs just to keep pace with the Lakers. Denver needs to protect home court. Paul could run wild and slice this Denver defence to shreds, even though he is only 26 he commands the Clipper offense like a veteran. Denver cant afford to drop a game against a Western conference opponent here. (more…)
We have a big NBA Sunday coming up overnight, we here at NBA Nation Oz cant wait to see what happens. See below for some bets we think are worth a punt.
Miami @ Oklahoma City
The biggest game of the day could be a preview of the NBA Finals – 2 of the NBA’s hottest teams. Oklahoma are looking to defend their NBA best home court record of 21-4.
Our pick: OKC -1 ($1 = 1.91 on Sportingbet)
Oklahoma City just came of a inspiring win over Minnesota yesterday in double overtime, this win should give them the confidence to tackle the Heat head on. Each time the Thunder have beaten the Heat (since 07) it has been by 9 + points. We like the Thunder at home.
Utah @ Atlanta
This game will see one streak come to an end, Utah on an incredible streak of 6 wins while Atlanta look to defend a 3 game streak at home. Utah’s streak and crushing beat down on Denver on friday night has driven them into 7th in the Western Conference, giving the Jazz a shoot in the arm. Can Atlanta survive with it’s injury toll mounting (see: Injury Report)
Our Pick: Utah win ($1 = 2.05 on Sportingbet)
Utah are playing with enthusiasm and their bench is deep. Atlanta are at the tail end of a back-to-back-to-back and that could be their undoing. We like the inside presence and power of Favours & Jefferson to do some real damage to Smith and Pachulla.
Memphis @ Los Angeles Lakers
A reinvigorated Lakers outfit should see the team through the challenge that is the Grizzlies. The speed and tenacity of newly acquired point guard Ramon Sessions coupled with the size and strength of Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol will undoubtedly be too much for this Memphis side. Because of these factors the pressure has been taken off Kobe Bryant, which in turn saw ALL FIVE starters register double figures on Saturday against Portland.
Our Pick: Los Angeles win ($1 = 1.33 on SportingBet)
LA have shown they are a real threat in the West, improving their win loss record to 30-18 and holding a 3-Game advantage over their cross-town rivals the Clippers. We are increasingly impressed with the power of Bynum who is playing MVP-quality ball, and how the team is coming together since the inclusion of Sessions. This will undoubtedly be too much for the likes of Randolph and Mayo in the confines of the Staples Center.
Washington Wizards @ Boston Celtics
It’s been a tough week for both these sides. The Celtics are coming off a crushing loss to Philadelphia which saw injuries sustained by Mickael Pietrus and Avery Bradley, and the Wizards are out of form in almost every way having won only three of the last ten games. They have also lost Rashard Lewis and Andray Blatche to injury.
Our Pick: Boston win ($1 = 1.17 on SportingBet)
TD Garden has become a safe house for the Celtics of late with the team winning their last 5 at the venue, and will be looking to sweep the series with the Wizards 4-0. Paul Pierce is averaging 18 points a game and is still a genius in the clutch, whilst John Wall has averaged 12 points over the past three starts, not to mention making only 4/13 in his last visit to TD Garden. While the Celtics are struggling this season, we know that they still possess the ability to overcome the lowly Washington Wizards.
Stay tuned overnight as we launch our very own tipping comp.
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