The Thunder Roll for Five Straight at Home
The OKC Thunder get a few days off for the Christmas Holiday.
Unlike some of the teams who have to play on Monday and or Christmas Day, the Thunder gets a four-day break after their 118-112 home win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday.
Next up are the Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday in OKC, then the Charlotte Hornets in North Carolina on Friday.
Doing Things Right at Home
The Thunder are playing inspired ball right now. In short, they’ve been doing things right. They dropped two in a row to the Sacramento Kings and Denver Nuggets, and have since righted the ship and won four straight. It all started with a 109-106 win over the Chicago Bulls. Then they went on to beat the Memphis Grizzlies, the Phoenix Suns, and Los Angeles Clippers. It should be noted – as the subheader indicates– that these wins are all coming from four of their lengthy, five-game home stretch.
In their last game, Steven Adams, Dennis Schroder, and Shai Alexander combined for 80 points. Steven Adams had a marvelous game, putting up 20 points, but also snagging a whopping 17 rebounds. Against the Suns, again three players scored more than 20. This time Danilo Gallinari, Shai Alexander, and Dennis Schroder. It also makes two games in a row where Shai GA, put up 32 points. Against the Grizzlies three games ago, we again have three players over 20 points. Chris Paul put up 18, nearly making it four and Steven Adams double-doubled with 10 boards and 13 points. It’s been team-play and load-share that have helped bring OKC to this win streak.
But can they keep it going and get a home sweep with five straight wins when the Memphis Grizzlies come to town again the day after Christmas?
There is no point spread listed on the NBA Odds boards just yet. But the OKC Thunder are likely to come in as moderate favorites once again. Last time around, the Thunder were listed by SBR Sports Picks as 6-point favorites, and strange enough, it was right on the button, the Thunder won by exactly six. I think the point spread will be similar, in the 5 to seven-point range.
The Grizzlies are 12th in the Western Conference at the moment, riding a not so great 11-19 record. The Thunder are 7th, trying to hold off the 8th-place Blazers who have finally found some wins. An important thing to note about this matchup is the Thunder have dominated this series. In the last ten meetings, OKC has won nine games by an average margin of seven points and change.
Right now, Memphis is scoring 110.8 points per game. Which is pretty good, all things considered. That stat puts them at the No. 16 scoring offense in the league, which is directly in the middle of the pack. Their main problem is defense. They let the opposing team just rin right past them and score 116.23 points per game, which is bad; they rank 26th in the NBA for points allowed. On the flip side of the coin, the OKC Thunder only scores 108.89 points per game which is 19th in the league. But they allow less than they score, 107.79 – just enough to win more often than not.
However, when the Thunder are at home, their offensive production jumps to 114.47 per game while their defense only falls one point to 109 and change. The Thunder’s offensive production at home falls right in line with what the Grizzlies allow on the road, 115.31. So we should expect the Thunder to put up somewhere in that ballpark on Memphis this Thursday, 113 to 116 points.
Meanwhile, the Memphis road offense of 108 points per game meets a home defense of 109 … So again, the averages coincide. We should see another six-point win over the Memphis Grizzlies and the OKC Thunder will hit their two-game road trip on a five-game winning streak. This should allow them to carry some momentum into Charlotte on Friday against the 13-20 Hornets and hopefully, extend that streak to six in a row before facing a tough Toronto Raptors squad on Sunday.