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Thunder vs. Rockets Game Two Pick – April 19th

We took a second-straight single-point loss in tough fashion as we once again had the game handicapped pretty well, picking the winner in a game they won rather easily, but failing to get the single point we need to also get the cover.  Them’s the breaks sometimes in this business, but it is never fun to come out on the losing side of a narrow beat.

There are a few games on the playoff slate today, so we will try to get back on the right side of the ledger tonight.

But man, the elephant in the room!  Boston is on the verge of one of the most embarrassing #1 seed performances in NBA Playoff history.  Sure, other #1 seeds have lost; most famously the Payton/Kemp/Karl Sonics to Dikembe’s Nuggets and Dirk’s MVP season thwarted by a rowdy Baron Davis-led Warriors squad.  But no #1 seed has looked so clearly inept through two games.  Boston got blowout for the second straight time at home.  And while it is imperative to recognized the human-factor of the the family tragedy of their leader, Isaiah Thomas,  it is impossible to ignore what the Chicago Bulls veterans are accomplishing.

We need a W tonight, and I think I know where we can find it…

Today’s NBA Pick:

Oklahoma City Thunder at Houston Rockets -8

I took one of my most lopsided losses of the season in Game One of the Thunder/Rockets series as Houston simply pummeled the Thunder, exploiting their lack of shooting and offensive limitations.  It is easy to look at that game and say “whoa, this series is a mismatch.”

But let’s pump the breaks a bit.  Historically, Russell Westbrook has been GREAT against Houston, and Patrick Beverly has always been there.  He struggled mightily in Game One, so it is fair to say we have a good chance of getting “’Good Russ” tonight.  It’s always been a roughly 50/50 proposition with Russ, regardless of the opponent.

Westbrook shot just 6 of 23 in the game and committed nine turnovers.  If his line transforms into say, 12 of 25 and three turnovers, it is a totally different ballgame – it’s like a 20-point swing.  Likewise, Houston scored 62 points in the paint against the more physically imposing Thunder.  I expect that weakness to tighten up tonight as well.

Houston is the better team, but tonight’s margin is a little too wide for me.  I think the Thunder bounce back and have a completely different look to them this evening and keep the game well within the nearly double-digit spread.

Heading into the postseason, Houston was 1-8-1 ATS in their last ten games.  Game One was a gem, but longer sample sizes indicate tonight could be a far different contest.

Today’s Pick:  OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER +8

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