Oklahoma City (25-18) at Golden State (35-6)
When: Wednesday, January 18th 2017
Where: Oracle Arena, Oakland, CA
Time: 10:35 ET | TV: ESPN
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Kevin Durant squares off against his former team once again when the Golden State Warriors host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night on ESPN. Durant, who bolted Oklahoma City over the summer to sign with Golden State, is thriving in his new home. The former MVP is averaging a team-high 25.8 points on a career-high 53.7% shooting as part of a team that leads the NBA in scoring (117.7 points) and assists (31.3). The Warriors dished out 37 assists and shot 50.5% from the field in a 126-91 thrashing of the defending-champion Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday night. Durant was a beast in the first meeting against his old team, pouring in 39 points in 31 minutes in a November 3rd 122-96 Golden State victory. Durant (three) and Draymond Green (five) combined for eight blocks in Monday’s win over Cleveland, and Durant turned in the defensive play of the night by stuffing LeBron James on a drive to the basket. Shooting guard Klay Thompson is averaging 24.5 points and is 9-of-16 from 3-point range in two games since resting last week against Miami. The Warriors has won four straight and are finishing up a four-game homestand with Oklahoma City before a stretch of seven of nine on the road.
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The Thunder, who trail the Utah Jazz by two games in the Northwest Division, are in the middle of six-game road trip that will take them through January 25th. Russell Westbrook is now the undisputed leader of the Thunder with Durant’s departure and is putting up historic stat lines but not quite as many wins. Westbrook, who is averaging a triple-double, was held to 24 points, five rebounds and four assists in a 120-98 loss against the Clippers on Monday to snap a string of three straight double-doubles as Oklahoma City struggled on both ends of the floor. Westbrook and the Thunder had a similarly poor performance the first time they visited Golden State back in November when Westbrook went 4-of-15 from the floor and the Warriors breezed to a 26-point victory. Center Steven Adams (12.0 points, 7.5 rebounds) sat out Monday’s game and is in the league’s concussion protocol. Oklahoma City is 11th in the league in field goal percentage (45.8), but it’s not translating past the three-point line as they rank 29th in that category (32.6).
It’s hard to go against Golden State right now especially after the beating they put on Cleveland the other night. Westbrook will be on his game and he should be enough to keep this one in single-digits. I’ll take the points.
Pick: Thunder +12.5