Oklahoma City -8.5 at Sacramento O/U 227.5
It will be interesting to see how Oklahoma City responds after the heartbreaking overtime home loss to Golden State this past Saturday. Up 11 with less than five minutes to go, the Thunder looked tentative down the stretch as Golden State relentlessly charged back to ultimately tie the game. Without Kevin Durant for the final four minutes of overtime (fouled out) OKC couldn’t hang on to a five-point lead. To their credit, the Thunder while disappointed with the result are pointing toward their defense which held the GSW to 103 points in regulation as a positive and the battle cry heading into tonight’s game is to continue playing 48 minutes of that type of defense in each of their final 23 regular season games. Sacramento provides a strong offensive test for the Thunder tonight so expect them to play highly energetic defense here. Helping Oklahoma City in this one could be the absence of Kings starting PG Rajon Rondo who’s thumb injury lists him as very questionable tonight. Also, injuries to starting SF Rudy Gay (shoulder-questionable) and starting C DeMarcus Cousins (knee-probable) may slow Sacramento’s offense down just enough for OKC to be even more effective defensively. With George Karl’s team playing little to no defense for quite some time now, offensive production shouldn’t be a problem for the Thunder whose pair of stars Westbrook and Durant have huge matchup advantages should Rondo not go and Gay play at less than 100 percent. However, the extreme focus from Oklahoma City in this contest will be on their defensive play which brings the total of 228 into play. Despite Sacramento’s matador defense and highly potent offense, 16 of their last 20 games have been played under tonight’s total. For Oklahoma City and their broken defense which they feel like they’ve begun to correct and are focused on completely correcting, 14 of their last 20 have totaled less than 228. Considering tonight’s situational & fundamental factors, this seems to be a prime spot to play under a very hefty total. Figure OKC to get theirs to the tune of between 110-116 but hold the Kings to 105 or less which gives enough wiggle room to call for a play on the under.