It’s an inter-conference clash south of the border. The Oklahoma City Thunder try to continue a recent hot streak as they face the Brooklyn Nets in Mexico City Thursday night. Oklahoma City won their third straight game by rallying to beat the Jazz 100-94 at home Tuesday night. Brooklyn earned a split of their home and home set with the Hawks by rolling to a 110-90 win Monday night. The Thunder has a 54-32 lead in the all-time regular season series and won both matchups last season.
Oklahoma City Thunder Look to Climb to .500
Oklahoma City has won three straight games, all of which came at home. The Thunder now has to head out on the road, even if it is a neutral site tilt, with a chance to get back to the .500 mark on the season. Oklahoma City trailed by nine after one quarter and by 12 entering the fourth but took advantage of the weary Jazz, who had played Monday night at home, in the final quarter. The Thunder outscored Utah 32-14 in the final quarter to pick up the win. Oklahoma City shot 48.1 percent from the field despite a four of 18 showing from three point range. The Thunder won the rebounding battle 46-35 and forced 16 turnovers to overcome 18 of their own. Russell Westbrook led Oklahoma City with 34 points, 13 rebounds and 14 assists in the win.
The Thunder is mediocre offensively this season as they are 24th with an average of 102 points per game. Oklahoma City is 15th in the league in rebounding with 43 boards per contest. The Thunder is 24th in assists with 21 per game. Oklahoma City is 4th in the league in scoring defense as they allow 98.8 points a night. Carmelo Anthony is third on the Thunder with 18.5 points plus 6.3 boards a night. Russell Westbrook contributes a team leading 22.5 points, 9.3 rebounds, 9.9 assists and 2.09 steals per game. Paul George adds 20.7 points plus 5.8 boards and 2.48 steals a contest and Steven Adams chips in 13.5 points plus 8.2 boards a night. Jerian Grant, Andre Roberson, Raymond Felton, Alex Abrines and Patrick Patterson have to make their presence known on both ends. Oklahoma City is 27th in the league in field goal percentage as the team shoots 44.2 percent from the floor. The Thunder is 18th with 10.2 made threes per game and stands tied for 26th in three point shooting at 34 percent.
Brooklyn Nets Hope to Get Something Going
Brooklyn managed to rebound from their loss in the home portion of their home and home set with the Hawks by picking up the convincing victory on the road Monday night. The Nets have had a couple days to rest and get prepared for this contest. Brooklyn trailed by one at the half but took command by outscoring Atlanta 31-15 in the third quarter. The Nets shot a solid 48.2 percent from the field and knocked down 15 of 36 three point attempts in the game. Brooklyn won the rebounding battle 52-38 and held Atlanta to 36.6 percent shooting to overcome 22 turnovers. Caris LeVert had 17 points to lead Brooklyn in the win.
The Nets are 5th in the league in scoring offense with 109.8 points per game. Brooklyn is 6th in the league on the glass by collecting 45.6 rebounds per game. The Nets are 11th in the league in assists with 22.8 dimes per contest. Brooklyn is second last in the league in scoring defense as they allow 112.3 points a game. D’Angelo Russell is the team’s leading scorer with 20.9 points plus 5.7 assists per contest: he underwent arthroscopic knee surgery and is out indefinitely. Trevor Booker posts 10.1 points plus 6.6 rebounds a game, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson adds 14.1 points a night while DeMarre Carroll chips in 13.9 points and seven rebounds a contest. Allen Crabbe (12.2 points) and Caris LeVert (10.6 points) are perimeter oriented options on the offensive end. Joe Harris, Spencer Dinwiddie (12.5 points) and Timofey Mozgov are key pieces in Kenny Atkinson’s rotation. The Nets are 24th in the league by shooting 44.5 percent from the floor. Brooklyn is 3rd by sinking 12 triples per contest. The Nets are 23rd in the league in three point shooting as they shoot 35.4 percent from long range.
- Thunder are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 road games vs. a team with a losing home record
- Thunder are 0-6 ATS in their last 6 games overall
- Thunder are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games playing on 1 day of rest
- Nets are 6-0 ATS in their last 6 vs. Western Conference
- Nets are 8-1 ATS in their last 9 games overall
- Nets are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game
The Thunder has been playing with fire as their three wins in this run have come by a combined 14 points. Had Utah not fallen apart due to fatigue in the fourth quarter Tuesday, we wouldn’t be talking about an Oklahoma City win streak. Brooklyn bounced back from losing at home to the Hawks by trashing Atlanta on the road. The Nets have plenty of depth in their scoring rotation and they can hurt you from the perimeter. Take the points and the Nets in this one as they hang in enough to make it a viable option.
Pick: Brooklyn Nets +7.5
Let’s not kid ourselves, elevation is going to be a major factor in this contest. Mexico City sits 7,382 feet above sea level, which is more than 2,100 feet higher than the Mile High City of Denver. Oklahoma City and Brooklyn are hardly what one would call higher elevations, so the altitude will play a role. The Thunder has sputtered of late even with their three straight wins: they’re 0-6 ATS in their last six and covered just one of their last nine games. Brooklyn is on the opposite end, going 8-1 ATS in their last nine with the exception being their loss to Atlanta at home.
The under is 9-1-1 in the Thunder’s last 11 games vs. a team with a winning % below .400, 8-1 in their last nine against Eastern Conference foes, 4-1-1 in their last six on the road against teams with a losing home record and 16-5 in their last 21 after a straight up win. Brooklyn has seen the under go 6-1 in Nets last 7 vs. a team with a losing straight up record, 5-1 in Nets last 6 games following a straight up win and 4-1 in their last five overall. Given the altitude and the wear and tear on both teams, this one falls short of the number by a few.