Warriors vs. Thunder Pick – February 11th

Durant is going back to OKC!  Durant is going back to OKC! With the media coverage since Wednesday, one would have thought he was returning PERMANENTLY.  Alas, it is just a regular season game (and he will continue to play for the Warriors), but even I must cynically admit, it makes for a really fun storyline. Who wins??  Let's dive in for today's featured pick...

You may have heard the KD is making his return to Oklahoma City tonight.  The reason you are likely aware is because ESPN has been covering this since Wednesday as if Kevin Durant were instead making his return trip to the moon for the first time since he and Neil Armstrong first strolled across it…

Look, I GET IT.  It is a big deal, especially if you are from Oklahoma City, which went from perceived “college town” to “professionally relevant” largely on the lanky shoulders of Mr. Kevin Durant.  It is a big deal to the city and a big deal for the NBA when a star of that caliber in his prime moves to a new city.  But I think we are taking it a teeny bit too far with the male soap opera here.  It has always been a big deal for stars to play in their former homes, but even with Shaq (Orlando to LA – far bigger) or Kevin Garnett (Minny to Boston – similar) we didn’t make it a four-day live-doc 30 for 30.

That said – I’ll watch tonight and you likely will too (though, I will be flipping between that and Gonzaga at St. Mary’s – GREAT game).  I’ll talk a little bit more about both in this column and the NCAA one…

If you wanna chat – and I know nothing brings out the polarizing ‘love me/hate me’ more than Golden State or Duke articles, hit me up on Twitter @TheMarchManiacs

We got an NBA winner last night with the Heat continuing their bizarre new life as fire-breathing dragons torching the entire NBA.  But dude, it ain’t Brook Lopez’s fault the Nets lost.  That guy was a monster and the block he had (Google, YouTube – find it) was straight up disgusting.

Let’s get another winner tonight.

Today’s NBA Pick:

Golden State Warriors -6.5 at Oklahoma City Thunder

There are a few things going against Golden State tonight.  They played last night (122-107 @Memphis), making tonight the back end of a road back to back, they are on the road playing a team that is 19-7 at home this season, and the tricky fact that this game means SO MUCH to the city of Oklahoma City that it is borderline irrational.

That is a lot to overcome.

But the Thunder have some things to overcome as well.  Namely, that they are playing a team that is head and shoulders BETTER than they are, and a team whose 22-5 road record indicates that venue is not a large issue for the Warriors.  Neither is rest.  They are 8-2 SU on no rest (though just 3-7 ATS in the same scenario).

Here’s my non-statistical theory for tonight, and I have used it successfully in the last matchup between these two teams as well:  Golden State GETS IT.  They are really good at being teammates.  They are a mature, thoughtful, intelligent basketball team and they are legitimately good friends and good supporters of one another.  They KNOW this game is ENORMOUS for Kevin Durant, the man they recruited away from his home to join them, the man who now shoulders immense scrutiny, pressure, and yes, for the first time in his career, criticism, simply because he CHOSE them over OKC.  There is NO WAY they do not have his back in a major way tonight.

I’ll admit, I don’t LOVE laying six and a half (Pinnacle, but most books are already -7).  After all, it is a road game against a 19-7 home team on a back-to-back.  But I’m willing to chuck out numbers and assume the Warriors put out an A+ effort tonight.  When they DO, they are nearly unbeatable.

I just don’t think OKC can score enough, try as they certainly will tonight, to keep up with the Dubs.  The first two meetings post-KD (or A.K.D, if you are Golden State) have been lopsided.  Golden State is 2-0- with a 47 point positive differential.  The location change is big (the other two were in Oakland) but I don’t think it’ll be big enough.

Oklahoma City has a nice record, but they haven’t been good against GOOD teams.  They are a nearly league-worst 5-15 ATS this season as an underdog.  Meaning, spots like THIS ONE tonight have been majorly problematic.

Look for Dray, Klay, Steph and Co. to deliver a big win for their biggest addition.

Today’s Pick:  Golden State Warriors -6.5