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    09/07/2011 10:47 PM
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NBA Friday Oklahoma City Thunder at Los Angeles Lakers: Start Time, Odds, Free Pick

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Pro hoops on Friday night and we will see the Oklahoma City Thunder travel to Los Angeles to take on the Los Angees Lakers. The game is scheduled for a 10:30 pm (Eastern) start time and will be televised on ESPN. Currently the odds for the game have Oklahoma City favored by 6 points while the total sits at 216.  Check out Sportsbook Spy to see who the Public is taking on all of today's games. 

Free Analysis: Oklahoma City enters a half-game behind the Los Angeles Clippers for the league's best record. It posted its third win in four games Wednesday as it defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 106-84. The Thunder are beginning a string of three straight games on the road, where they are a pedestrian 9-5 as opposed to their 18-3 mark at home. Russell Westbrook accumulated 23 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, while Kevin Martin contributed 19 points off the bench to the rout. Oklahoma City shot 55.3 percent in the second half to pull away while making 11-of-20 attempts from 3-point range for the game, with Martin going 4-of-7 from long distance and Westbrook knocking down 3-of-4 tries from beyond the arc. Russell Westbrook is looking to extend his consecutive games streak to 348, the longest active games played streak. Kevin Durant ranks third in the league in scoring with an average of 28.1 points. Oklahoma City is 6-0 when Durant scores at least 35 points. The Thunder are the NBA's top 3-point shooting team through 35 games as they have made 267 of 668 attempts. Westbrook and Durant form the highest-scoring pair of teammates in the league. The duo currently is averaging 49.9 points. 

Los Angeles has not lost six straight since it dropped seven in a row from March 2-15, 2007. After ending December with their sixth win in seven games, the Lakers have yet to post a victory this month. They dropped a 108-105 decision to the Spurs in San Antonio on Wednesday for their fifth straight defeat.  Los Angeles, of course, will be without center Dwight Howard, who is nursing a shoulder injury, as well as forward Jordan Hill, who is out with a hip ailment. However, the team hasn't officially ruled out forward Pau Gasol from returning from a concussion. Kobe Bryant still leads the league with an average of 30.1 points. But by his standards, he's in a bit of a scoring slump. After scoring at least 30 points in 12 of 13 games, the superstar has failed to reach the mark in each of his last three contests as he has tallied 29, 20 and 27 points. With 10,653 field goals made, Bryant is seven away from passing Alex English for eighth place on the all-time list. Los Angeles has posted its worst 35-game start since also beginning the 2002-03 season with a 15-20 record.

Free Pick: I will go with the Thunder in this one. The Lakers played way over their heads vs the Spurs and the Thunder saw that so you can bet they will not take this team lightly. Yes the Lakers may have Gasol back in this one, but even if they do i just don't see them keeping pace with this high scoring Thunder squad. With or without Gasol the Lakers still have no defense. 3 of the Lakers last 5 games have been vs 3 of the top 5 scoring teams in the league and they allowed 115 ppg in those 3 games. Now they take on a healthy Thunder squad that is 2nd in the league in scoring. Ouch. That's a rough 4 game stretch. The other night the Spurs struggled a bit on defense with this squad, but the Thunder as been playing good defense this year as they have allowed just 96.3 ppg overall, including just 90.5 ppg in their last 4 games. Even if Gasol is back the Lakers are lacking depth and with this being their 4th fast paced game in a row vs a top 5 scoring offense I'll look for them to wilt in the 4th quarter, where the Thunder will pull away for a bug DD win.   


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