NBA Betting Preview: Thunder vs Rockets
- Updated: April 4, 2014
The Oklahoma City Thunder looked very much like a team that was out to prove a point, and they did so in resounding fashion last night, with a 106-94 victory over the San Antonio Spurs. That victory may not have improved Oklahoma City’s playoff position ultimately, but it certainly solidified where they stand at this particular moment. Of course, this is the NBA, so there is always going to be another challenge around the corner, and on Friday night that challenge comes in the form of the Houston Rockets, who play host to the Thunder at the Toyota Center in basketball betting action that is set to begin at 9:35 PM ET.
Oklahoma City is now 55-19 straight-up on the season, and they have won seven of their last eight games. They trail San Antonio by three games in the race for the best record in the Western Conference, and last night they gained a game over the Los Angeles Clippers, who lost to Dallas. So they are 2.5 games ahead of the third-place Clippers. Oklahoma City is also 40-33 against the basketball pointspread.
Houston is the fourth-place team in the conference, coming into this contest with a record of 49-25. The Rockets are 36-35-3 against the basketball odds. They are also looking for their first victory over the Thunder this season, but they will have to do it without All-Star center Dwight Howard. VietBet customers may also be wondering about the status of Russell Westbrook, the Thunder’s point guard who came a very big against the Spurs last night but has been frequently rested on the second end of back-to-back situations. All indications are that he is going to be sat down by coach Scott Brooks.
The Rockets, by the way, are also missing the services of guard Patrick Beverley, who was out with a knee injury. With the absence of Howard and Beverley, Houston has lost three straight games, and if they do not come out on the winning end tonight, that will be their season-high losing streak. Another issue of great significance is the fact that the Rockets are only one game ahead of the Portland Trail Blazers in the West, and if they continue to slip, they can fall back to the #5 position, in which case they would forfeit home-court advantage in the opening round of the playoffs.
If Westbrook doesn’t play, he will be missed by the Thunder. Last night he had 27 points, six assists and four steals, including a brilliant surge at the end of the first half that reduced San Antonio’s lead to three points, and a sensational dunk late in the game that brought thrills to the home crowd at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.
But VietBet customers are well aware that it is the “other” superstar in the Oklahoma City lineup that will draw the focus of basketball bettors and fans around the country on Friday, as Kevin Durant goes after his 40th straight game with 25 or more points. It may not be something to compare with Joe DiMaggio’s streak in 1941, but it’s something that really means a lot to the Oklahoma City faithful, as anyone who watched last night’s game could easily see. With 25 or more in this game, Durant ties Michael Jordan for the longest streak of that kind in the last 50 years of the NBA.
Oklahoma City has won all three games against Houston this season, and Durant has averaged 37 points in those contests, not to mention just shy of 37 points in this latest eight-game stretch. The guy who will be trying to match points with him on Friday night is, of course, James Harden, who was formerly a member of the Thunder and always runs the risk of forcing bad shots in his quest to light up the scoreboard against his former team. That risk may be even greater, since he has to pick up more of the slack with Howard’s absence.
The Thunder may not be able to catch San Antonio in the West race, but basketball bettors know if they are able to complete this season sweep of the Rockets, along with what is now a sweep of the Spurs, they will certainly go into the playoffs with a whole lot of confidence.
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