NBA Wednesday: Kevin Durant returns to Oklahoma City
The Lakers and Bulls hardly put forward a riveting 48 minutes last night, but with 14 games on the slate tonight, we’re sure to be entertained before we fill the 36 hours between NBA games with a copious amount of food.
Celtics (16-2) @ Heat (7-9)
The Celtics are on a 16-game winning streak and face the Heat tonight in Miami. Recent numbers on the court have this game going one way, but historical trends say another.
After coming back from a 13-point deficit with 7:47 remaining in the fourth quarter to beat the Mavericks 110-102 in overtime, the Celtics moved to 15-2-1 against the spread. They now have an 88.2 percent cover rate, which despite sounding great, doesn’t historically pan out very well.
Teams that have a cover rate of over 80 percent have gone 285-315-14 (47.5 percent) against the spread the following game.
In The Action Network newsletter, Chad Millman says “the public will pound the Celtics. And we’ll tell you to fade the Celtics. And we’ll likely be wrong.”
The most significant reason you’d likely be wrong in fading the Celtics is that their defensive rating of 97.6 is the best since 2004. The Heat’s 96.8 offensive rating over their last five games, on the other hand, is ranked 29th in the league.
You’ve got to be able to score plenty of points to beat the Celtics, and the Heat don’t look like they have it in them based on recent performances.
The winning streak can’t last forever, but I’m struggling to see the Heat overcoming this elite Celtics defense to end it tonight.
Pick: Celtics -2
Wizards (10-7) @ Hornets (7-9)
The Wizards have quietly put together a nice 5-1 record against the spread as an underdog and enter this one getting 2.5 points against the Hornets.
Each of Washington’s six games as an underdog has come on the road, and they’ve not only covered the spread well, but they’ve also won four of them straight up.
They are one of the best performing teams in the league and one of only four with a top-10 offensive and defensive rating.
Teams in Top 10 of both Offensive & Defensive Rating:
• Warriors: 1st in O, 5th in D
• Rockets: 2nd in O, 8th in D
• Wizards: 8th in O, 9th in D
• Pistons: 9th in O, 10th in D
• Raptors: 3rd in O, 11th in D
— Shane Young (@YoungNBA) November 20, 2017
Consistency is a major issue, but with the head-to-head matchups of the starting five, I like the Wizards to keep dominating as an underdog.
Pick: Wizards +2.5
Warriors (13-4) @ Thunder (7-9)
Kevin Durant wants us all to believe this is “just another game.”
He wants us to believe he approaches it like any other.
Well, we don’t believe you, KD.
So, after telling everyone that he loves Oklahoma City, loves the Thunder, admits being hurt No. 35 was issued to another player and hopes the Thunder retire it for him, Kevin Durant now wants you to believe that Wednesday in OKC will be "just another game"
— Moke Hamilton (@MokeHamilton) November 21, 2017
In his three games as a Warrior against his former franchise, Durant is averaging 37.7 points per game. That just so happens to be the highest points per game average against a franchise of all active players in the league (minimum three games).
It’s not a blown out number due to one monster performance. With outings of 34, 40 and 39 points, Durant is consistently putting the Thunder to the sword by scoring well into the 30’s.
The Thunder does have Paul George on their roster this time around, but Durant hasn’t had any problems scoring on him in the past.
Durant is only averaging 24.9 points per game for the season, but he has a good chance of going big tonight. In terms of feel for the court and shooting background, this is as good as a home game for him.
I like him to keep dominating his former team tonight.
Pick: Durant over 27.5 points
Trail Blazers (10-7) @ 76ers (9-7)
Nets (6-10) @ Cavaliers (10-7)
Clippers (5-11) @ Hawks (3-14)
Raptors (11-5) @ Knicks (9-7)
Magic (8-9) @ Timberwolves (10-7)
Spurs (11-6) @ Pelicans (9-8)
Nuggets (10-7) @ Rockets (13-4)
Mavercks (3-15) @ Grizzlies (7-9)
Bulls (3-12) @ Jazz (7-11)
Bucks (8-8) @ Suns (7-11)
Lakers (8-10) @ Kings (4-13)