NBA Picks: Lakers vs Thunder Odds, Prediction and Live Score
Russell Westbrook, perhaps the only human driven by a nuclear engine, exploded for a 51-point triple double during his last stint on the hardwood, dragging the Oklahoma City Thunder across the finish line for a 113-110 win against Phoenix. The Lakers fell to the defensive stalwart Utah Jazz after an exciting home opening win against the Houston Rockets, who are ignorant of defence. Young Lakers talent will do what they can to stop the Westbrook, who’ll need support from his teammates to outgun L.A.’s young guns.
Los Angeles Lakers vs Oklahoma City Thunder Pick
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The NBA witnessed the end of an era in Oklahoma City when Russell Westbrook lost his sidekick to free agency in the off-season. This move immediately submarined any reasonable chance of the Thunder winning the NBA Championship while distorting the balance of power in the Western Conference. Sam Presti did his best to bring talent on board by fleecing Orlando, acquiring Oladipo, Ilyasova and first-rounder Domantas Sabonis in exchange for a disgruntled Ibaka. This may have secured a playoff spot, but doesn’t come close to replacing the singular talent of Durant.
You could put four Marcelo Huertas clones and Westbrook on the court and still win 40 games in the NBA. Most teams in the league will get torched on a nightly basis, although certain matchups will present extreme problems for the Thunder. Russell can’t operate at peak Russ if he doesn’t get into the paint. Teams like the Utah Jazz and San Antonio Spurs, who have solid rim protection, are most likely to halt the Westbrook train, which results in an automatic loss for OKC.
Lucky for the Thunder, the Los Angeles Lakers roster consists mostly of super talented youngsters attempting to master the finer points of NBA basketball. Luol Deng is their best vet and plays solid ball, but having Mozgov at center will leave the Lakers exposed until they realize why Cleveland didn’t resign him. Lou Williams, Marcelo Huertas, Jose Calderon and Metta World Peace round out the Lakers list of questionable signings.
The entertainment factor of the Lakers revolves around D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle showing off their energy, enthusiasm and growing offensive skillsets, giving the association a preview of the future. Los Angeles simply doesn’t have the defensive skill or experience necessary to keep Westbrook away from the rim, or Enes Kanter from snapping up numerous offensive rebounds and dominating the post game. Expect the Los Angeles Lakers to make this an entertaining matchup, as Russell Westbrook drops another triple double en route to securing a 3-0 start for the Thunder.
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Post Kobe and Kevin, the Lakers and the Thunder will be focusing on carving new identities as teams capable of excellence without these superstars. Observers around the association pointed to Kobe as a roadblock on the path to rebuilding the Lakers, snatching crucial possessions from the hands of babes attempting to get good. Now that Laker sophomores and rookies have more space to operate, they won’t have to stand around and watch Bryant jack long twos instead of passing the ball to an open man.
The picture for the Thunder is a bit bleak, especially considering the fact they could have kept Harden, Durant and Westbrook together if they chose to do so. Fans won’t forget all the opportunities that the Thunder had to win an NBA ring, and history will probably remember the Thunder as a great team that couldn’t get over the hump. Fortunately, Westbrook is the type who uses this as motivation, which could lead to a historic season of triple doubles and wild stat lines from this incredible human.
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