NBA Betting – Can OKC’s Big Two Stop Miami’s Home-Cooking?
Zack GarrisonNo comments
A new season brings a new head coach and a new hope in Oklahoma City. Yet the same old questions surround the Thunder (11-7, 3-4 Away) early in 2015: is this team deep enough to win? We might get a better idea tonight when OKC visits one of the best defensive teams in the NBA, the Miami Heat (10-6, 8-3 Home), at American Airlines Arena (7:00 PM Eastern).
With both their superstars healthy, Oklahoma City entered the season as one of the title favorites. And while Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook have lived up to the billing – averaging 28.7 and 27.6 points per game, respectively – the cupboard is pretty bare after that. Their next big contributor is Serge Ibaka with 13.2 points per game and it only gets worse from there (for example, Andre Roberson and his 4.9 PPG are getting over 20 minutes a night). The Thunder have a weak bench that scored only 19 points during a 106-100 loss to the Hawks on Monday night.
“We’re not gonna shut Kevin Durant down, you’re not gonna shut Russell Westbrook down, only thing we can hope for is they have bad shooting nights,” Dwyane Wade told the Associated Press. “It’s our job to make sure that we make it as tough as possible, play our defensive concepts and don’t give them too many easy baskets and play the way we play.”
Miami has had a home-heavy start to their schedule: so far, eight of their ten wins have come at American Airlines Arena. The team averages only 96.3 points per game, 27th in the NBA, but is holding opponents to 92.5 PPG, second in the league.
After going 37-45 last year and finishing tenth in a weak Eastern Conference, the Heat’s hot start even has some of the team’s own players surprised.
“Before the season started, if you would’ve told me your team would be 10-6 in the first 16, I’m gonna take that,” said Miami’s Chris Bosh. “We’re better than I thought we would be. That’s one thing that we understand. We do wanna win and can win ball games, but we’re an inexperienced group [in terms of playing] together.”
The Thunder won and covered both meetings against the Heat last season and, despite Miami’s solid overall record, they haven’t been a good bet this year, going just 1-5 ATS in their last six home games.
Pick: Thunder -2.5.