The NBA continues on Friday with a full host of action from the east to west coast. There are ten games on the Friday NBA card beginning with the Phoenix Suns and Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena. Look out for the Suns in the Western Conference. That conference might be just a little more competitive than it already was with the Suns playing as well as they have been. There are three late night west coast games, with the LA Clippers and Golden State Warriors probably the most intriguing out of the group.
The Chicago Bulls and LA Lakers is a classic matchup that likely can’t be ignored either. I just wish the Bulls were a good team again. I’m no Bulls’ fans, but the NBA was a good product when the Bulls, and even the New York Knicks were a competitive basketball team. More competition is better for any league. The Knicks could be heading in the right direction finally.
I’m trying to be cautious regarding the Knicks, but after years of frustration for Knicks’ fans, they have to be optimistic regarding the future. A record of 5-3 is nothing to celebrate, but playing above the .500 mark has been somewhat of a foreign idea. Keep in mind that the Knicks finished two seasons ago with a record of 17-65 for dead last in the NBA. The Knicks were able to move up three spots to 12th in the Eastern Conference at 21-45. I don’t know if you can call that improvement, but it was a glimmer of something positive.
The Knicks are banking on big progress from RJ Barrett and an impactful season for Julius Randle. Randle has looked like a different player on the court for the Knicks. The former Laker has scored 23.1 points, 12 rebounds, and 7.4 assists per game. He’s always been a fine player in the league, but never developed into the go-to option in an offense. Randle has been using this opportunity to prove that he can be. Through just eight games, we have to pump the brakes a bit, but Randle has been awfully promising.
The Thunder are another young team looking to lay down the foundation for the future. They have a guy that they believe can usher in a new era of Thunder basketball in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. The 22-year-old Canadian has recorded 19 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 6.7 assists per game. After all of the draft picks the Thunder gladly took from the Clippers, they hope to surround Gilgeous-Alexander with a lot of young talent. Head below for our free Thunder vs. Knicks pick on January 8, 2021.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. New York Knicks NBA Betting Odds:
Thunder vs. Knicks Prediction:
The Knicks are on a nice roll at the moment with the straight wins. After a 100-83 loss against the Toronto Raptors, the Knicks came back with a win over the Pacers, 106-102, Hawks, 113-108, and Jazz, 112-110. Three wins in a row isn’t something Knicks’ fans have been accustomed to seeing. Heck, three months in a month had been a struggle for the Knicks.
Besides a couple of bad spots, the Knicks’ offense has mostly been reliable. With the offense running through Randle, the Knicks have been much more effective on the offensive floor. If RJ Barrett can really explode, then the Knicks are going to be in a really good spot. Barrett has notched 17.1 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per game. Along with the emergence of Randle in New York, the presence of new head coach Tom Thibodeau can’t be emphasized enough.
The players seem to like playing for him, and they’re buying into his system. There feels like a lot more structure in New York with the Knicks than we’ve seen before. Overall, the Knicks are shooting 46.4% from the field for 13th in the NBA. they’ve recorded 104.4 points a game, which could be better if it wasn’t for a couple of bad spots against the Raptors and 76ers. At home they’ve been more efficient, with an average of 110.3 points scored a game.
This young Thunder squad has a lot to learn, but with all of the draft picks they have in the pipeline, there is a lot to feel good about in OKC. The Thunder have scored an average of 102 points per game, which in the NBA today, isn’t going to win too many games. They have been slightly better on the road, having netted 104.5 points per game. In their last meeting, the Thunder were 126-103 winners on March 6. No Chris Paul changes the dynamic of this game, but I still feel like the total is a bit too short of where it should be. I’m on the OVER in what looks like a 110-104 or 109-105 game.