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OKC Thunder vs. Sacramento Kings Gambling Preview & Free NBA Picks

Thunder vs Kings NBA Handicapping

Even amidst three consecutive road losses, OKC’s Kevin Durant is truly having a campaign for the ages. The six-year pro has gone 41 consecutive games with scoring 25 or more points, surpassing Michael Jordan’s 1988-89 streak of 40 straight. [ad-4468020]

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Date/Time: Tuesday, April 8 2014, 10 pm EST
Venue: Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento CA
Ok. City -8, Sacramento +8

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Durant’s streak is now the longest since the legendary Oscar Robertson did 46 straight in 1963-64.

Durant is averaging just a stupid 32.1 PPG, 7.6 RPG and 5.6 APG this season. He’s literally having a season that makes some of the best efforts from MJ, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson seem pedestrian. The craziest thing about it? He doesn’t seem to care, and is just peeved that the Thunder have been losing lately.

It’s precisely this reason why the Thunder will be so dangerous come playoff time, even without former star James Harden. With apologies to LeBron, KD is the best scorer in the NBA currently, and probably also its best player. With a diminished starting cast thanks to Harden’s departure and injuries to Russell Westbrook, Durant simply steps it up another notch.

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If the Thunder lose to the Kings on Tuesday night, it will be the first four-game road losing streak for OKC in five years. The transplanted Seattle Sonics franchise struck gold with Durant, but it’s yet to materialize in an NBA title.

Still, the Thunder have been in the league’s top tier for quite a while. The franchise has won over 65% of its games since 2010, and are winning at a better than 70% clip since 2011-12.
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While Sacramento continues to chart the waters with moody, talented but enigmatic big man DeMarcus Cousins, Durant and his crew have guided OKC to a 55-21 record, even with the three recent road Ls. The Kings (27-50) have had a more trying building process.

“Boogie” Cousins can take over the game when his head is screwed on straight, but the Kings don’t distribute the ball well (ranked 30th in the NBA in assists per) and Cousins – on reputation more than anything at this point – is prone to foul trouble.

Notwithstanding an inefficient SF Rudy Gay around to help with the scoring, the Kings have really staked their future into Cousins. If and when he is ready to accept the considerable responsibility dumped on his lap, Sac-Town could start improving in a tangible way.

My guess is that Durant will desperately want to reverse this trend of road losses and he’ll come out firing like he generally does. KD dropped 38 points in Phoenix in a 122-115 loss on Sunday night. Oklahoma City’s defense really needs to get sharper for the oodles of scoring provided by Durant and Westbrook (who, to be fair, had 33 points vs. the Suns) to be more impactful.

Cousins should provide a big mismatch against sluggish Thunder C Kendrick Perkins, but I doubt that will be enough to offset the constant threat of KD, Westbrook and the length of Serge Ibaka. Gay has never been a spirited defender and if Boogie gets into foul issues, the Kings are completely toast.

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Even with Durant’s brilliance, the Thunder aren’t perfect. They need to smarten up in their defensive zone and their depth isn’t the best. Regardless, though there are other heavy hitters in the Western Conference – San Antonio, the L.A. Clippers and Houston primarily – the Thunder can definitely consider themselves part of that group.

There should be evidence of that in sleepy Sacramento on Tuesday night.

Ok. City 117, Sacramento 102
(take the OVER)

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About James Hayes

James has been naming every player on the EA Sports video game rosters for half a decade now, he’s finally putting his knowledge to better use writing for us here at CappersPicks.com. Your comments are welcome below…Give Us Your Take!


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