Thunder vs. Lakers: NBA Preview


Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 of the Oklahoma City Thunder looks to pass.  Meg Oliphant/Getty Images/AFP
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 of the Oklahoma City Thunder looks to pass. Meg Oliphant/Getty Images/AFP



The Lakers rallied in the first of two back-to-back games against the Thunder on Monday night en route to a 119-112 overtime victory. Can they do it again, only this time cover the number? Let’s analyze this matchup and cash another one of our NBA previews!


 Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Los Angeles Lakers

at Staples Center


Lakers Wear Down Thunder

It’s great when a plan comes together as it did on Monday night when I played on the Thunder +12 points. If you missed the game then you also missed LeBron imposing his will and manufacturing a seven-point overtime victory on a night when the Lakers came out flat as a board. Few athletes have the power and intestinal fortitude to pull off such a feat but King James is certainly one of them. When the dust settled, LeBron came away with his third triple-double of the season in the form of 28 points, 14 boards, and 12 assists.

In fact, it was the second consecutive overtime game, with the first coming against the Pistons in a double-overtime thriller that culminated in a 135-129 slugfest. Even at the age of 35, LeBron can still bring it but it’s not quite as easy as it once was. “I’m good with one overtime compared to two overtimes,” James said. “Get home a little bit earlier and my heart don’t feel as bad as it did the other night.”

Unfortunately for Oklahoma City, they couldn’t put the hammer down when it counted the most, despite leading throughout most of the game. It’s a youthful team that gets overwhelmed at times, particularly against a superstar led Lakers team.”We just have to stick with it,” Thunder center Al Horford said. “Our guys learn pretty quick. We make a mistake; we watch it on film and we correct it. We keep improving and that’s the mindset we have.”

Wanna Make a Bet?

The Lakers have now won five straight but they are definitely not the same team at home as they are on the highway. Consider that Los Angeles has won 12 of 14 away from the Staples Center but is only 7-4 at home straight up and 4-7 against the number.

Now if we shift gears and take a look at Oklahoma City, we can see that they are 7-5 straight up on the road but a bettor’s dream at 9-3 against the spread in those dozen road contests. Let’s also consider that the Thunder has now covered the NBA odds in their last five road tilts, including Monday night’s affair when the books spotted them a whopping 12 points.

One fact we should also note is that OKC didn’t have George Hill or Mike Muscala available on Monday night and suited up only eight players. On the flip side, it also helped that Anthony Davis sat on the sidelines due to a strained Achilles and his status is in doubt for Wednesday night’s contest. Markieff Morris will start in his place if Davis requires extra time to heal.

There are also some trends that we can turn to as we determine which side is the right side in the second leg of this back-to-back series.

  • OKC is 5-2 ATS over their last seven against the Lakers
  • OKC is 6-1 ATS in their last seven Wednesday games.
  • OKC is 6-1 ATS in their last seven road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
  • OKC is 5-1-1 ATS in their last seven games after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game.
  • Lakers are 0-4 ATS in their last four games after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game.
  • Lakers are 1-5 ATS in their last six games after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game.

Every time I bet against LeBron I have to swallow hard but this looks like another golden opportunity to cash with what will certainly be a substantial underdog in Oklahoma City. Obviously, getting AD back will give the Lakers a big boost if he returns to action tonight but that will manifest in the Thunder getting more points.

You have to believe all of those recent overtime games have to be taking a toll on LA which is just another reason to back the Thunder tonight!

Free NBA Pick: Thunder +12.5 (-115) at BetMGM

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