San Antonio at Oklahoma City Lines, Expert Pick & TV Info

Posted by Michael Hunt on Wednesday,March 8, 2017 11:48, EDT in

If the 2017 NBA playoffs started today, the second-seeded San Antonio Spurs would take on Russell Westbrook and the No. 7 Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round out West. The teams have played just once so far this regular season but face off Thursday in a national TV game. The Spurs will be road favorites in NBA lines.

San Antonio at Oklahoma City Lines, Expert Pick & TV Info

When: Thursday, March 9, 8 PM ET
Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena, OKC
TV: TNT
Stream: NBA.tv
Radio: San Antonio / Oklahoma City
NBA Odds: Spurs favored by TBA

Why Bet on San Antonio?

Kawhi Leonard won’t win this year’s MVP Award, but what he did Monday in a win over the Rockets was amazing. Leonard scored 39 points but that only tells part of the story. Leonard hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 30 seconds left in regulation and then blocked James Harden on the next possession. He shot 12-of- 18 from the field and 11-of- 11 from the line, adding six rebounds, five assists, two blocks, one steal and four 3-pointers in 39 minutes. He is the only player in the NBA this season in the top-15 in offensive rating, defensive rating and usage percentage.

The victory vs. Houston marked Leonard’s 91st straight game in double figures, which is the longest streak by a Spur since Tim Duncan (91) in 2003. In the 3/1 win vs. Indiana, the San Diego State product scored his 6,000th point to become the sixth fastest Spur to log as many points (378 games) behind George Gervin (227), David Robinson (246), Tim Duncan (275), Larry Kenon (278) and Alvin Robertson (375). Leonard dished out his 800th career assist, making him just one of seven Spurs to ever record at least 800 assists and 250.

Leonard is one of just three players in league history — Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon are the two others — to win NBA Finals MVP and NBA Defensive Player of the Year (twice). And he joined more elite company on March 1 with a 31-point game vs. Indiana, making Leonard the fourth player in franchise history with 20 outings or more scoring 30-plus points in a single season (he now has 23 after Monday night’s heroics vs. Houston), joining Gervin (7), Robinson (4) and Duncan (1). Leonard ranks No. 2 in the NBA in Player Efficiency Rating (28.68). Oklahoma City’s Westbrook owns the best PER (29.81).

This season the Spurs have held their opponents to 98.4 points-per- game, giving the Silver and Black their 22 nd straight season allowing fewer than 100.0 points, which is the longest run in NBA history.

Why Bet on Oklahoma City?

The Thunder were hoping to get Victor Oladipo back Tuesday. He was a game-time decision vs. Portland. Oladipo has missed six straight games due to the back issue but was able to practice on Monday. Whenever Oladipo returns, Alex Abrines would be bumped back to the bench. Doug McDermott would also see his minutes reduced significantly.

It is now very likely Westbrook will average a triple-double going into the playoffs. Westbrook needs only 157 rebounds (7.9 per game) and 192 assists (9.6 per game) over the last 20 games to secure that honor (he has already passed the points threshold). Also helping Westbrook’s MVP case: He’s No. 5 in ESPN’s real plus-minus (6.26) and No. 2 in offensive RPM (6.28), and the Thunder have a 3.1 net rating with him on the court compared to a minus-11 net rating when he sits.

Westbrook is averaging 37.2 PPG since the All-Star break. Only two NBA players averaged at least 37 points per game in a season after the break (minimum: 10 games): Wilt Chamberlain (five times) and Michael Jordan (37.1 in 1986-87).

Oklahoma City has won the past two meetings vs. the Spurs, but those were last year with Kevin Durant. In the first meeting between the teams this season, the Spurs won 108-94 on Jan. 31. San Antonio was 52-42 at halftime, but Oklahoma City went on a 22-2 run in the third to put them on top by 3 points. San Antonio regained the lead within the quarter and pulled away in the fourth. Leonard had 36 points and eight rebounds. The Spurs held the Thunder to 35.3% from the field and had 13 blocks to Oklahoma City’s 7. Westbrook had 27 points and 14 assists.

OKC has gone 17-3 when going up against Western Conference opponents at Chesapeake Energy Arena this year. Dating back to the start of the 2009-10 season, OKC has gone 235-75 (.758) at home (2 nd best home record in the NBA during this span). The Thunder are 13-17 versus the Spurs during the Oklahoma City era. In this span, OKC is 8-7 at home vs. SAS and 5-10 on the road.

San Antonio at Oklahoma City Expert Pick: Oklahoma City Thunder

OKC will be getting some points and San Antonio could rest a key guy or two in their second game in 24

hours.