NBA Game of the Night: Nets @ Thunder and a +1051 Parlay
The Game of the Night features the Brooklyn Nets visiting the Oklahoma City Thunder. Both teams are playing well, have won four of their last five games and both teams should come into this one relatively healthy.
The Nets are coming in hot after winning five of their last six games, which includes a big win over the Celtics in Boston on March 3 and a win at Denver on Sunday. The Sunday win was particularly impressive considering Nikola Jokic torched them for 35 points, 20 rebounds, 11 assists, two steals and two blocks, but missed a game-tying shot at the buzzer.
That big line has us questioning the defense of Nic Claxton a little, but Claxton had a fine game against Jokic, at least offensively. The young center hit 8-of-9 shots and 4-of-4 free throws for 20 points, six rebounds, five assists and a steal in 28 minutes. He needed 10 rebounds to hit the over there so that was disappointing, but the Nets won and he played well. And he won't have to guard Jokic tonight.
Point Guard Spencer Dinwiddie has been in the zone lately and the Nets have won five straight games that he’s played in. He’s scored between 11 and 29 points in each of his last eight games and is averaging 22 points and 13.5 assists over his last two games. He’s also at 19.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, 9.5 dimes, 1.3 steals, 0.8 blocks and 1.7 triples in his six March games and has the Nets hanging onto the No. 5 seed in the East, despite everyone writing them off when Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving jumped ship. And no, we still haven’t seen hide nor hair of Ben Simmons since he scored two points in 20 minutes nearly a month ago back on Feb. 15.
Mikal Bridges has also been a big story for the Nets ever since being traded by the Suns and while Brooklyn got off to a rough start after the trade, they’ve figured things out this month. Bridges is killing it on both ends of the floor, shutting opposing small forwards down and crushing it offensively. He had a 45-point game for the Nets back on Feb. 15 and is averaging 27.3 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 0.9 steals and 2.9 3-pointers on 49.6 percent shooting in his seven March games. Cam Johnson has also been solid, averaging 16.8 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.7 3-pointers over his last six games.
One player who is not playing well, or playing much at all, is the formerly hot Cam Thomas. Thomas became the odd man out after the trade and he’s picked up a couple DNPs recently, including in Sunday’s win over the Nuggets. He’s played just seven or fewer minutes in three of his last four games and the dream is simply over, at least for this year. And it’s sad, as he had back-to-back-to-back 40-point games in February and really carried the team when KD and Kyrie turned their backs on the Nets. Unfortunately, there’s no reason to hold him in fantasy any longer.
The Thunder have also won five of their last six games despite the fact that Shai Gilgeous-Alexander floats in and out of the lineup recently due to some nagging injuries. He sat out of Sunday’s win over the Spurs, as well as a March 8 loss to the Suns, but is expected to play tonight. And when he plays, he goes off. He’s scored at least 33 points in four straight games and will be looking to make it five against Dinwiddie tonight. And the Nets give up the sixth-most points in the league to opposing shooting guards, which is nice.
Jalen Williams has been playing well for OKC, with or without SGA, and is coming off a 21-point, 7-rebound, 10-assist game against the Spurs. Not only is SGA coming back tonight, but Williams may be the lucky recipient of the Bridges treatment so we’re going to fade him. Josh Giddey has also been playing well, especially when SGA is out, and had a big 17-11-17 triple-double on March 7. Giddey is averaging 17.9 points, 8.6 rebounds, 9.1 assists, 0.9 steals and 1.3 3-pointers on 50.5 percent shooting in seven March games. Isaiah Joe looked like he was coming on but has really fizzled lately despite earning some starts. Despite averaging nearly 27 minutes in March, Joe hasn’t scored more than nine points in any of his last five games. In short, SGA, Giddey and Williams are the only three OKC players we really trust right now.
Both teams will be looking for a win tonight as the No. 5 Nets are essentially tied with the Knicks and want to continue to chase No. 4 Cavaliers, as well as hold off the No. 7 Heat, although there is a three-game cushion in both of those chases. And the Thunder are currently on the outside looking in at the playoffs as the No. 11 seed. But they have the same record as the No. 9 and 10 Lakers and Pelicans, and are just a ½ game behind the No. 8 Mavs. And they’re just 2.5 games back of the No. 5 and 6 Warriors and Clippers, so they still have a chance to leapfrog some teams and avoid a play-in altogether if they can stay hot and keep stringing together wins.
This is a tough call but the Thunder have won three straight games when SGA has played and he’s absolutely gone off in all three of them. He should be well rested and as long as he isn’t guarded by Bridges, he should go off again tonight and the home-court advantage will hopefully be enough to push them over the top.
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Pick: Thunder -1.5
Same Game +1051 Parlay - It’s a big ask, but it’s also doable.
Leg 1: Thunder -1.5
Leg 2: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to score 30+ points
Leg 3: Mikal Bridges to score 20+ points
Leg 4: Spencer Dinwiddie to record 10+ assists