Sunday afternoon in the NBA will see the Oklahoma City Thunder travel West to take on the Los Angeles Lakers. The game is scheduled for a 3:30 pm start time and it will be televised live on ABC. Currently the odds have Oklahoma City favored by 1 point with the total sitting at 199.5 points for the contest.
Free Analysis: Oklahoma City tries to maintain its recent dominance over the Lakers when it visits Los Angeles on Sunday afternoon. After a three-game losing streak, the Thunder have enjoyed an easier string of opponents which has allowed them to win six of their last eight games. Their latest of those wins came on Friday against the Kings as Kevin Durant fell just short of a triple-double, scoring 29 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists, while Russell Westbrook had a quieter game of 18 points. James Harden couldn’t quite replicate his 40-point performance from the previous game, but he did finish with 20 points as the Thunder moved to within half a game of the Western Conference leaders, the Spurs. Chicago is the only team in the NBA with a better road record than Oklahoma City's 21-11 mark (66%). The Thunder have also done a great job against other elite teams this season, going 7-3 ATS when favored by less than three points. OKC is 6-2 (5-3 ATS) in its past eight games, averaging 110.2 PPG in its past five victories. The defense has also stepped up, holding its past five opponents to 42.9% FG. SF Kevin Durant is a big reason why the Thunder are in a position to sweep the season series from L.A., averaging 27.0 PPG and 7.5 RPG in the two meetings. He’s also playing excellent basketball in the season’s final month, averaging 28.3 PPG (51% FG, 39% 3-pt FG) and 7.6 RPG in a dozen April contests. Los Angeles is trying to recover from a complete thrashing by San Antonio on Friday, losing 121-97. The Lakers allowed the Spurs to make 61% of their shots, just three days after letting San Antonio shoot 60% from the floor against them. But despite the two losses to this top team in the West, L.A. has won five of seven games, holding these opponents to 93.4 PPG in the five victories. Kobe Bryant returned to the court but scored just 18 points and has shot terribly against the Thunder this season, making just 14-of-49 shots (29% FG). C Andrew Bynum (11.9 RPG, 3rd in NBA) also had a lackluster stat line on Friday with a season-low two rebounds, minus-26 rating and just 17 points, far below the 26.3 PPG he scored in the previous four games. Bynum should be fine however, considering he has 19.5 PPG and 12.5 RPG in two meetings with OKC this season. PF Pau Gasol had just 11 points and eight rebounds on Friday, but is still averaging 19.9 PPG and 9.9 RPG in his past eight contests. In 22 head-to-head matchups - 16 in the regular season and six in the postseason - Bryant is averaging 26.4 points with Durant averaging 25.0. The Lakers have won 16 of those contests, including a 2010 playoff series.
Free Pick: I like the Thunder in this one. Something is just not right with the Lakers right Now, especially defensively. The Lakers defense has taken a beating of late, as they have allowed 105 ppg on 50.3% shooting in their last 5 games. That is not good news when you're about to face Kevin Durant and the high scoring Thunder. Oklahoma City averages 102.8 ppg (3rd) on a solid 47.3% shooting (3rd). Not only can the Thunder shoot and score, but they also have been defending very well of late as they have allowed just 42.9% shooting in their last 5 games, plus they have held the Lakers to just 89 ppg in the two meetings this season. The Lakers just aren't playing well right now and that is a big reason why I feel the Thunder will complete the season sweep here.
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Sunday at Pregame.com (Sports Betting Picks- 04/22/2012)Join host Johnny Detroit to hear about the biggest sports betting picks and best bets from the famous handicappers available for sale at Pregame.com for NBA and College Basketball action on Sunday, April 22, 2012. You will also receive a Free Play courtesy of one of our Handicappers.(College Basketball,NBA,NFL,NHL, Baseball)