Oklahoma City at Phoenix NBA Betting Preview & Game Info

Posted by Kenny Bell on Thursday,April 6, 2017 9:25, EDT in

There are really only two interesting things to watch for in Friday’s matchup between Oklahoma City and Phoenix. One is if Russell Westbrook sets the NBA single-season record for triple-doubles. The other is if the Suns are able to keep losing and secure the second-worst record in the NBA. They will be home NBA betting underdogs.

Oklahoma City at Phoenix NBA Betting Preview & Game Info

When: Friday, April 7, 10 PM ET
Where: Talking Stick Resort Arena, Phoenix
TV: NBA TV
Stream: NBA.tv
RadioOklahoma City / Phoenix
NBA Odds: TBA

Why Bet On Oklahoma City?

The Thunder played on Wednesday in Memphis; Westbrook entered that game with 41 triple-doubles, tying Oscar Robertson’s single-season record. Westbrook tied that mark on Tuesday in a blowout of the Bucks with 12 points, 13 rebounds and 13 assists. It was his seventh straight triple-double. Westbrook also moved into a tie with Wilt Chamberlain for fourth on the career list with his 78th triple-double. Westbrook could clinch averaging a season-long triple-double with just a few assists in this game. He’s already set in points and rebounds no matter what happens the rest of the way.

Just four degrees of separation exist between Westbrook and Oscar Robertson. Westbrook played against Kobe Bryant, most recently on April 11, 2016. Kobe Bryant played against Robert Parish, most recently on February 5, 1997. Robert Parish played against John Havlicek, most recently on February 14, 1978. And John Havlicek played against Robertson, most recently on May 12, 1974.

The Thunder have made a habit of winning when Westbrook records a triple-double this season — now 32-9 — but they had lost in the last two instances, a tough defeat to the Spurs and an ugly one to the Hornets, both at home.

OKC is the leading rebounding team in the NBA (46.4 rpg). OKC is now 18-3 this season when outrebounding the opposition by 10 or more. Additionally, the Thunder lead the NBA with respect to points in the paint (50.0 per game). Last year, the Thunder’s 8.4 rebounding differential was the fourth largest margin since 1950, when rebounding first became a statistic.

The Thunder could be without rookie guard Alex Abrines again for this one. In Tuesday’s win, Abrines was diagnosed with a sprained left knee. He was off to a hot start with 12 points, four 3-pointers and a block in 12 minutes before leaving. An MRI confirmed a sprain and no ligament damage.

Why Bet On Phoenix?

To win, I wouldn’t bet this team the rest of the season as the Suns long ago quit and entered Wednesday’s likely home loss to Golden State having dropped 12 in a row. The Suns are tanking, no question about it. The team is without reserve guard Leandro Barbosa. Barbosa is dealing with “nerve irritation” in his hamstring, and there’s a good chance he won’t play again this season Suns coach Earl Watson said he believes Devin Booker could thrive as the team’s point guard. Over the Suns last four games, Booker is not only pouring in 36.8 points a night, but he is also averaging 7.2 assists.

“When Devin Booker took off at the end of last season, he was at the point,” Watson said. “He had a lot of 30-point games. This year he’s had a 70-point game. It’s not a coincidence… I don’t know if I’ve said this publicly before, but he reminds me a lot of James Harden.”

Marquese Chriss made his 72nd start of the season Wednesday, which is the most by a Suns rookie since Michael Finley started 72 in 1995-96. Chriss was named NBA Western Conference Rookie of the Month for January, the first Sun to win the award since Amar’e Stoudemire in April 2003.

The Suns won the last meeting vs. OKC, 118-111 at home on March 3, snapping a six-game win streak by the Thunder. Six different Suns scored more than Oklahoma City’s second-leading scorer as Westbrook paced the Thunder with 48 points, 17 rebounds and nine assists though Abrines was their next high scorer with 13 points. The Thunder led by as many as 12 points in the first quarter but the Suns led by three at halftime and never trailed in the second half. The Suns’ bench proved the difference, outscoring the Thunder’s 55-22 as all five Suns reserves were a net positive in the plus/minus category.

Assuming the Suns lost Wednesday, they would tie the single-season franchise record with a 14 th straight loss here. The team’s longest streak bridging seasons is also 14 straight from April 21-Nov. 26, 1996.

Oklahoma City at Phoniex NBA Betting Pick: Oklahoma City Thunder

As long as Westbrook plays, OKC will beat the Suns, who truly do want to lose and are playing all young guys.