Tag: Kevin Durant
2017 NBA Finals Preview
Cleveland Cavaliers vs Golden State Warriors
If it feels like we’ve been waiting for Warriors-Cavaliers III all season, you’re right. One of the most anticipated clashes in NBA history is almost here and FanPicks.com will provide the NBA finals daily fantasy basketball contests all week. After trading championships the last two years, the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers meet again to settle their difference in the NBA Finals. The Dubs have run through the postseason undefeated, while the Cavs have only dropped one game.
Where LeBron James might have been able to take breaks in the past against Harrison Barnes, he now has to stay locked and loaded at all times opposite Kevin Durant. The big guy setting screens and going goon for Golden State is no longer a leaping Australian (Andrew Bogut) but rather a ground-bound Georgian (Zaza Pachulia). The scrappy Cavs second unit of old has been supercharged with aging All-Stars in Kyle Korver and Deron Williams.
Starting Point Guard: Stephen Curry vs. Kyrie Irving
This is what you’re likely thinking:
Stephen Curry is the two-time defending MVP. He’s probably the greatest shooter of all time. He might be one of the best ball-handlers and passers the NBA has ever seen. This is no contest!
That may be true for most point guards opposite Curry, but not for Kyrie Irving. To whatever extent the former has dominated during the regular season, the latter has been more reliable (if not more impactful) in the postseason matchups. Over their eight previous Finals games against one another, Irving has scored more points, shot better from the field, made more defensive plays—including eight blocks at Curry’s expense—and turned the ball over far less frequently while notching nearly as many rebounds and assists as Curry has.
For all that Steph has done to separate himself from the competition through the bulk of the last three seasons, his signature explosiveness has yet to truly translate to the sport’s grandest stage. They’ve each scored 30 points or more three times in the Finals, but only Irving has topped 40—and hit a game-winner, at that. Keep in mind, too, that Curry has scored fewer than 20 points in a Finals game five times to Irving’s one. Granted, the Cavs don’t lean nearly as heavily on Irving as the Dubs have on Curry. Both have also been beset by injuries; Irving’s busted kneecap in Game 1 of the 2015 Finals knocked him out of the rest of that showdown, while Curry’s leg and ankle issues appeared to limit him throughout last year’s series.
Starting Shooting Guard: Klay Thompson vs. J.R. Smith
In broad strokes, Klay Thompson and J.R. Smith aren’t all that different on the court. They both stand in the 6’6″, 6’7″ range, carrying between 215 and 225 pounds on their expansive frames. They’re both streaky shooters who can turn a quarter, a half or a game with a few flicks of the wrist. Smith, to his credit, has in recent years shown both an ability and a desire to lock down his opponents the way Thompson has throughout his own rise to stardom.
Thompson is a more consistent defender than Smith, and though he’s been cold throughout these playoffs (14.4 points on 38.3 percent shooting, 36.4 percent from three), Thompson’s track record of explosive success suggests he’s the better bet of the two to be a bona fide game-breaker. But if there’s any area in which Smith may prevail, it’s in taking (and making) difficult shots—the sort that, with proper timing and placement, can swing a series.
Starting Small Forward: Kevin Durant vs. LeBron James
It’s been five years since Kevin Durant, then with the Oklahoma City Thunder, and LeBron James, then with the Miami Heat, faced off in the Finals. Back then, Durant outshot and outscored James, but lost the series in five while LeBron dominated in rebounds, assists and supporting cast. Much has changed for these two all-timers since their last championship showdown. No longer need Durant work so hard to create shots in isolation, now that he’s a cog in the Warriors’ finely tuned scoring machine. As was the case during the regular season, his playoff scoring is down from his OKC days, but his shooting percentages are through the roof.
James, too, has been a picture of efficiency during Cleveland’s postseason run. His 32.5 points per game are the second-highest mark of his career, and his attendant field-goal percentages (56.6 percent overall, 42.1 percent from three) would both be personal bests. He has done just that, with 8.0 rebounds, 7.0 assists, 2.2 steals and 1.4 blocks to boot. Durant is no slouch beyond scoring (7.8 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.9 combined steals and blocks), but for all his otherworldly ability, his command of the court still pales in comparison to James’ iron-fisted jurisdiction.
Starting Power Forward: Draymond Green vs. Kevin Love
Kevin Love isn’t exactly Superman for the Cavaliers, but Draymond Green may be his Kryptonite. Last year, Love nearly averaged a double-double while shooting 44.6 percent from three during Cleveland’s romp through the East. This time around, his numbers were remarkably similar across the board.
Against the Warriors, though, Love may be the closest thing Cleveland has to an Achilles heel. During the 2016 Finals, Golden State, with Green at power forward, held the Cavaliers’ stretch 4 to 8.5 points on 36.2 percent shooting (26.3 percent from three) and 6.8 rebounds while picking on him for his poor pick-and-roll defense. If not for Cleveland’s squeaker-of-a-win in Game 7—and the importance of Love’s 14 rebounds and late-game defense on Curry therein—we might be talking about a different third wheel playing with James and Irving right now.
Once upon a time, Green could’ve been trade bait for Love. Now, he’s not only one of the NBA’s premier defenders, but also arguably the most irreplaceable Warrior. He’s continued his run as Golden State’s primary playmaker (7.2 assists), rebounder (8.7 boards), shot-blocker (2.1 blocks) and thief (1.9 steals) while stunningly emerging from a season-long shooting slumber to lead his team—which also employs Curry, Thompson and Durant, in case you’ve forgotten—in three-point accuracy (47.2 percent). This time around, Green won’t be saddled with the sort of baggage (i.e., technical fouls) that dragged down him and the Dubs during the previous Finals. Then again, neither is Love guaranteed to miss a game (and be at all limited thereafter) by a concussion the same way he was last June.
Starting Center: Zaza Pachulia vs. Tristan Thompson
Salaries and national origins aside, Zaza Pachulia and Tristan Thompson aren’t so different. They’re both screen setters and rebounders, finishers and mixer-uppers, bigs who do the dirty work so their superstar teammates can thrive on the strength of their skills.
Both have also drawn unwanted attention in these playoffs for seemingly unsavory play—Pachulia for his hard closeout on San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard, Thompson for his Olynyk-esque yank on the arm and shoulder of Boston’s Amir Johnson. Pachulia, though, is more interchangeable than indispensible. The 33-year-old, who missed Games 3 and 4 against the Spurs with a right heel contusion, has averaged 6.1 points and 4.3 rebounds in 14.5 minutes per game while splitting duties at center with David West, JaVale McGee and Draymond Green.
In the East, Thompson has been nothing short of beastly. With Khloe Kardashian reportedly out of the picture, the 26-year-old has terrorized opposing frontcourts to the tune of 9.2 points on 60.0 percent shooting with 9.3 rebounds (4.2 on the offensive end)—not including the countless other loose balls he’s gotten his hands on in some capacity. Size-wise, Pachulia has about two inches and 30 pounds on his Cleveland counterpart. But what Thompson lacks in height and bulk, he more than makes up for in superior speed, agility, hops and, above all, durability.
Wild Card: Ian Clark vs. Channing Frye
At some point in this series, at least one of the head coaches—be he Tyronn Lue in Cleveland or Steve Kerr’s interim replacement Mike Brown in Golden State—will have to dig deep into his bench for reinforcements. In Golden State’s case, Ian Clark has been that secret weapon. The Belmont University grad has shot at a 50/40/90 clip—52.4 percent from the field, 40.0 percent from three and 93.3 percent from the free-throw line, to be exact. He’s played in each of the Warriors’ 12 games, scoring 7.5 points in 14.6 minutes, but hasn’t played any high-leverage minutes.
Neither has Channing Frye, who’s contributed 7.8 points in 13.0 minutes by draining 52.6 percent of his 3.5 three-point attempts per game. But Frye didn’t appear in Games 3 and 4 against the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals, and probably wouldn’t have set foot in Game 5 had it not been a blowout from the beginning. Nor is he likely to feature much in the Finals against the Warriors. He certainly didn’t last June, when he earned three straight DNPs in Games 5 through 7 after getting gouged across the board by Golden State in the first four meetings.
Odds are, the Dubs haven’t forgotten how to exploit the 34-year-old Frye, even if Steve Kerr isn’t the one pulling strings from the sideline. The Cavs can take their chances with him if they so choose. The Warriors, on the other hand, won’t have to sweat it if they need Clark to sop up minutes, say, when Steph Curry encounters foul trouble.
Wednesday Cash Draft Basketball Preview
FanPicks has all of NBA matchup ready for live cash draft basketball. Take a look at every game available at FanPicks.com on Wednesday.
Raptors vs 76ers
The Toronto Raptors may receive a challenge from a team they typically pummel. Toronto will be seeking its 15th consecutive win over the 76ers, but Philadelphia is showing signs of progress with six victories in its last eight games.
Grizzlies vs Wizards
The Washington Wizards are riding their home dominance up the standings in the Eastern Conference and aim for their 13th straight win in front of the home fans. The Wizards are trying to sweep a three-game homestand after beating Philadelphia and Portland by a combined 35 points.
Trail Blazers vs Hornets
The Charlotte Hornets got off to a superb start this season but a prolonged slump caused them to dip below .500. Charlotte will look to get back to the break-even mark and halt a five-game losing streak against the Trail Blazers.
Knicks vs Celtics
Isaiah Thomas looks to continue his torrid pace and the Boston Celtics will try to match their longest winning streak of the season. Thomas led the Celtics to their third straight win with another remarkable fourth-quarter burst.
Magic vs Pelicans
The New Orleans Pelicans did not do as well as they wanted on their five-game road trip and come home with star power forward Anthony Davis banged up. The Pelicans hope to have their star back in the lineup against the Orlando Magic.
Bucks vs Rockets
James Harden attempts to add to his triple-double count, as well as help Houston break out of a minor funk. The Rockets have dropped three of their last four games, including Tuesday’s 109-103 loss to Miami despite Harden’s 40 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists.
Hawks vs Pistons
Detroit Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy sat through a three-hour meeting with owner Tom Gores on Saturday and came out of it with the organization on the same page from the top down, despite some disappointing results. Van Gundy will try to thank his boss for the support with a second straight win, as they host the Hawks.
Thunder vs Warriors
When the Golden State Warriors put everything together, they look positively unbeatable. The Oklahoma City Thunder already saw that type of performance once from the Warriors and will try to disrupt the rhythm with star Russell Westbrook going up against former teammate Kevin Durant.
Pacers vs Kings
The Sacramento Kings are failing to take care of business on a seven-game homestand and look to end it with a victory against the Indiana Pacers. The Kings are just 1-5 entering the finale of the long home set and then embark on an eight-game road trip that may decide whether or not they remain in range of a Western Conference playoff spot.
Cleveland Cavaliers vs Golden State Warriors
The Cleveland Cavaliers blamed a lack of practice time for some lackluster performances of late but got two straight days off over the weekend to work out some kinks and prepare for another NBA Finals rematch. The Cavaliers will return to Golden State for the first time since winning Game 7 of the NBA Finals last spring when they visit the Warriors on Monday (Enter contest). This is your FanPicks NBA preview.
Cleveland overcame a 14-point, fourth-quarter deficit on Christmas Day to earn a 109-108 home win over the Warriors in the first regular-season meeting, stretching their winning streak in the rivalry to four straight dating back to Game 5 of the Finals. Cleveland is playing the finale of a six-game road trip and pulled out of a two-game skid with a 120-108 win at Sacramento on Friday. Golden State has been off since knocking off Detroit 127-107 at home on Thursday and is focused on long-term goals.
ABOUT THE CAVALIERS (29-10)
Kyrie Irving knocked down the go-ahead 3-pointer in Game 7 of the Finals last spring and hit the winning jumper with 3.4 seconds left in the Christmas meeting as well. Irving battled a shooting slump in two losses last week. He went a combined 9-of-34 from the field in those two contests. The point guard and started to pick up the pace by pouring in 26 points on 10-of-22 shooting in Sacramento. Irving was able to hoist up that many shots against the Kings because LeBron James decided to show off his skills as a passer while racking up 15 assists. Shooting guard Kyle Korver went 4-of-6 from beyond the arc at Sacramento after going 0-of-5 in his first two games with the team.
ABOUT THE WARRIORS (34-6)
Two-time reigning MVP Stephen Curry struggled to 40.3 percent from the floor in the Finals last spring and did not enjoy any more success at Cleveland on Christmas, when he was limited to 15 points on 4-of-11 shooting. Kevin Durant got his first taste of the rivalry in that Christmas meeting and collected 36 points and 15 rebounds but tripped on his way up the court on the final play and could not get off a shot at the buzzer. Durant scored at least 25 points in each of the last five games and is 8-of-15 from 3-point range in the last three contests. Shooting guard Klay Thompson went 4-of-5 from 3-point range on Thursday after going 4-of-20 in his previous three contests.
Golden State Warriors vs Boston Celtics
The Boston Celtics finally appear to be getting things in order on the defensive end, just in time to welcome the highest-scoring team in the NBA to town. The Celtics will try to earn a fourth win in five games and slow down an offensive juggernaut when they host the Golden State Warriors on Friday (Enter Contest).
Boston surrendered an average of 123 points during a three-game slide but cut that number down to 93.8 in the last four contests, capped by a 90-83 win over the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday. Celtics coach Brad Stevens and All-Star guard Isaiah Thomas were regularly questioning the team’s effort during the losing streak, but that effort appeared on Wednesday in the form of a 53-32 advantage on boards. The Warriors were outrebounded 46-35 on Wednesday at Toronto but erased the deficit by hitting 50.6 percent from the field and burying 13 3-pointers. Golden State is averaging 123.4 points during a five-game winning streak and handed out 30 or more assists in each of the five contests.
ABOUT THE WARRIORS (9-2)
Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry scored 30 or more points in the same game for the first time as teammates in Wednesday’s 127-121 triumph but the best player on the floor may have been Draymond Green. The All-Star forward collected 11 points, seven rebounds, five assists, three blocks and two steals in the win and leads the team in rebounding (9.8), assists (6.9), steals (2.3) and blocks (1.7). The Warriors are the first team since the 1990 Chicago Bulls to hand out 30 or more assists and shoot 50 percent or better from the field in five straight games. Golden State earned a 124-119 double-overtime victory in Boston last season to improve to 24-0 before suffering its first loss the next night in Milwaukee.
ABOUT THE CELTICS (6-5)
Avery Bradley does it all for Boston, and the 6-2 guard grabbed a career-high 13 rebounds on Wednesday. Bradley posted a points-rebounds double-double in three of the last four games. Center Al Horford (concussion) missed the last eight games and there is still no timetable for his return.
Golden State Warriors vs Toronto Raptors
The Golden State Warriors are starting to mesh with newcomer Kevin Durant and are averaging 122.5 points during their four-game winning streak. Golden State attempts to continue the high-octane performances on Wednesday, when it opens a four-game road trip against the Toronto Raptors (Enter Contest).
The Warriors suffered two 20-point defeats among their first six games but now are clicking better at both ends of the court. Durant is averaging 27.7 points and reigning two-time MVP Stephen Curry 27.2 for a team scoring a league-best 116.4 per game. The Raptors lost to defending NBA champion Cleveland 121-117 on Tuesday, marking the second time this season they fell to the team that ousted them from last season’s Eastern Conference finals. Point guard Kyle Lowry produced 28 points and nine assists in the losing cause.
ABOUT THE WARRIORS (8-2)
Power forward Draymond Green is averaging 10.9 points and was well aware his number of shots would diminish with Durant joining the club. But he isn’t thrilled with perceptions that his level of play has declined and insists any list of the NBA’s top performers should include his name. Shooting guard Klay Thompson scored a season-best 30 points in Sunday’s 133-120 victory over the Phoenix Suns. The Warriors have won the last four meetings against Toronto.
ABOUT THE RAPTORS (7-3)
One night after losing to the defending NBA champs, Toronto plays the runner-up in an odd scheduling quirk. Shooting guard DeMar DeRozan leads the NBA in scoring (33.2) and has recorded 30 or more points in eight of Toronto’s 10 games. He failed to score 30 points for only the second time this season when he was held to 26 on Tuesday. DeRozan has been the main story on the Raptors this season. Small forward DeMarre Carroll (knee) was rested on the front end of the back-to-back set but will play Wednesday.
Kevin Durant faces old team
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook square off as adversaries for the first time in their NBA careers when Durant’s new team, the Golden State Warriors, host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday (Enter Contest). Durant departed the Thunder as a free agent in the offseason. Reports came in following the move that their relationship was tense. They’ve both haven’t shied away from camera time since, fueling up the rumor. It comes as no surprise that tension will be high when former teammates face off for the first time.
Golden State rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the Western Conference finals to defeat Oklahoma City and then Durant opted to join the Warriors on July 4. Westbrook has led Oklahoma City to a 4-0 start to begin the post-Durant era and he hit the winning jumper in Wednesday’s 85-83 road victory over the Los Angeles Clippers.
ABOUT THE THUNDER (4-0)
Westbrook signed a three-year, $85 million extension after Durant’s departure and he has embraced the opportunity to finally be viewed as the face of a franchise. He had 35 points in the victory over the Clippers and is averaging 37.8 points, 10.5 rebounds and 10 assists. Offseason acquisition Victor Oladipo was 3-of-11 shooting against the Clippers and is shooting just 32.8 percent from the field.
ABOUT THE WARRIORS (3-1)
Durant is averaging 28.5 points and shooting 57.4 percent from the floor through four games with his new team. The meeting with the Thunder should boost Durant to even better numbers after Thursday. Point guard Stephen Curry has 28 points in Tuesday’s 127-104 trouncing of Portland and is averaging 26.3 points. The Warriors won all three regular-season meetings last season. They’ve already lost one game this season to the San Antonio Spurs and could be on the brink of losing a second one in their 5th game of the season. It’s something that hasn’t happen until the Warriors 31th season game, last year.
NBA Fantasy News
Paul George puts 2014 behind him.
Indiana’s forward Paul George found his U.S. National teammates in preparation to the 2016 Rio Olympics without any apprehension, he assured Tuesday. He is two year’s removed from a serious injury that took him out prior to the 2014 FIBA World Cup. He fell awkwardly on his foot while fouling James Harding during a scrimmage at practice in Las Vegas. The team ended up winning the tournament without him. Despite all of that, he’s ready to put it all behind him and give it is all for the Gold. George will finally get the chance to play for his nation, something he is most proud of.
Team USA is currently preparing for Rio in Las Vegas. For George, coming back to train where he got hurt isn’t a problem. He knows that injuries can happen anywhere, anytime to anyone. The injury caused him to miss almost all of the 2014-15 NBA season. He since found his stride scoring a career-best 23.1 points per regular season game. Under his drive, the Pacers made it to the 2016 playoffs. The got bumped early though losing in the first round against the Toronto Raptors.
Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski will lead his third Olympic squad. Under his tutelage, team USA has yet to lose a game since the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Since that time the teams hold a record of 34-0, which includes two Olympics games and two FIBA world cup.
Team USA will be represented once again by an elite squad of NBA players despite some bowing out due to the unsafe nature of Brazil. They are still favorite to land the coveted gold medal. The Golden State Warriors will have three representative at the games, with shooting guard Klay Thompson, power forward Draymond Green and newly acquired small forward Kevin Durant. The team will also rely on guards Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler, DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry, forwards Paul George, Harrison Barnes, and Carmelo Anthony, and centers DeMarcus Cousins and DeAndre Jordan.
Join FanPicks during the Rio Olympics(Click here)
NBA Free Agency & Trades
NBA free agency and the trades this week have been on a full swing. With hundreds of millions of dollars being currently spent, there’s still a lot more to come with moving parts to board. FanPicks (click to play) breakdowns this week’s madness in Free Agency signings and Trades in the NBA!
Kevin Durant joins the Golden State Warriors
One of the biggest off season and trade frenzy question was answered Monday morning when Kevin Durant announced that he was leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder to arch Western Conference rivals Golden State Warriors. Durant’s formal introduction at Oracle Arena Thursday confirmed OKC’s fans’ nightmare as the face of their franchise moved on.
The MVP of the 2013-2014 season and 4 time NBA scoring leader joined the team of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. This is a gigantic earthquake that has shaken the NBA this week! A few weeks after losing in seven games against the Warriors, Kevin Durant decided to join them!
Dwayne Wade joins the Chicago Bulls
A leap in the salary cap has caused teams to hand out record amounts of money for players this time of the year in the NBA Free Agency Frenzy.
Dwyane Wade chose to leave the Miami Heat to join the Chicago Bulls. Wade, 34, was upset the lack of consideration of the Heat’s management. With this deal worth $47.5 million for 2 years, it will be interesting how the Bulls will cope with Wade’s experience and leadership after losing stars Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah.
He has been with the team since 2003 and won 3 NBA Championships during his amazing run.
Joakim Noah joins the New York Knicks
The French-American became officially a player of the New York Knicks after serving 9 seasons with the Chicago Bulls.
Noah, 31, signed a four-year contract with the famous New York franchise, valued at $70 million. He was apparently on the list of players that they’ve been wanting to recruit for a long time.
He will be alongside his former teammate Derrick Rose and close friend Carmelo Anthony.
With Pau Gasol leaving the Bulls for the San Antonio Spurs last week, many other top free agents are up for grabs.
Don’t forget to check our blog for the latest news on this NBA Free Agent Frenzy with the market still hot after this frantic week in the NBA.
Fantasy Basketball Thunder vs Spurs
Game 1 Preview
The Oklahoma City Thunder will travel to the tough AT&T Center to face the San Antonio Spurs in the first game of this highly anticipated rivalry between 2 of the top teams in the league and potential championship contenders. This Fantasy Basketball Thunder vs Spurs Game 1 Preview is brought you by Fanpicks. Come PLAY in our Daily Fantasy Basketball contests at FanPicks and get a free chance to win $1 Million dollars!
The 2nd ranked San Antonio pretty much swept the Grizzlies in a commanding fashion as expected. They’re coming off a full week of rest and ready to head back into back after posting their 7th series swept in 9 years. The league’s Defensive Player of the Year, Kawhi Leonard had a tremendous first round. He was not only a threat offensively but was also impressive in the rebounding section, constantly making him a fantasy lineup sure shot. His French peer, Tony Parker was also solid from the field with his mix of speed and dribbling. their big man LaMarcus Aldridge ended up the series on a double-double note and averages 14.5 pts with 8 boards a game. It seems like he’s found his Trail Blazers’ rhythm and fits right in with the Spurs. This could be extremely menacing for the Thunder as well as the defending champions, Golden State Warriors.
The Thunder finished off the Dallas Mavericks this past Monday to end the series in 5 games. This will be the first time that Oklahoma City advances to the Semifinals in 2 years. Russell Westbrook has been putting up MVP numbers this year and even in the series against the Mavs. His sidekick, Kevin Durant is as consistent as it gets. Westbrook finished off Monday with 36 pts, 12 boards and 9 assists and frequently posts near triple double numbers. Durant finished with 33 pts on monday with 7 boards. Durant and Westbrook are ranked 4th and 5th in the postseason scoring race with each averaging around 26 pts. They’ve had some help as well from Steven Adam who recorded a double double too. This will be the first time that both teams meet since 2014 when they lost the series 4-2 against the Spurs in the Conference Finals. The season series is split at 2-2 and this series will be one hell of a show.
NBA Playoffs Fantasy Preview
Dallas Mavericks vs Oklahoma City Thunder
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook’s Oklahoma City Thunder will host the Dallas Mavericks in the 1st game of this Western Conference battle at Chesapeake Energy Arena Saturday night. This NBA Playoffs Fantasy Preview is brought you by Fanpicks.com. Come PLAY in our Daily Fantasy Basketball contests at FanPicks and get a free chance to win $1 Million dollars!
This regular season, the Thunder swept their season series winning all 4 games while scoring at least 108 pts. They’re clearly favorites in this series and it would be quite an upset if they don’t win it in 5 or less games. The great news for them is that they’re much healthier than the past 2 postseasons. The Mavericks as well are getting healthy as well and should expect starts from their important players, Deron Williams and J.J. Barea.
Oklahoma City come into this game lacking perfect form but at least well rested. This will be one of the only The Thunder come into this game lacking good form, but much of that has to do with resting players. This is actually one of the first playoff runs that Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant will be playing together and healthy, making it very promising for Thunder fans. Their offense and rebound strength is the main key to their success as they rank in the top 2 in the NBA for both categories.
The Mavs are heading into these series having won 7 of their last 9 and one of the hottest teams in the league. During that span, their only 2 losses came against the Spurs and the Clippers. What’s really impressive is how their defense has been allowing less than 98 pts in 9 straight games and averaging just under 90 pts against. Unfortunately, their offense led by veteran and future hall of famer Dirk Nowitzki needs to step it up as they rank outside the top 13 in the NBA when it comes down to pts scored, pts allowed, boards per game and assists per game.
DON’T MISS OUT ON THE NBA MAGIC MILLION CONTESTS! ENTER NOW FOR A CHANCE TO WIN MILLIONS IN CASH PRIZES!
Fantasy Basketball NBA Preview
Oklahoma City Thunder vs San Antonio Spurs
Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant’s Oklahoma City Thunder will travel to San Antonio to face their Western Conference rivals, San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday. This Fantasy basketball NBA preview is brought you by FanPicks.com. Come PLAY in our Daily Fantasy Basketball contests at FanPicks and get a free chance to win $1 Million dollars!
The Spurs lost their first home game of the season recently, in a superb matchup against the Golden State Warriors Sunday night. They’ve had an amazing season so far and now have a franchise best 65 wins, despite losing 3 in a row. Their head coach, Gregg Popovich doesn’t care about that and is simply more concerned about having his veterans in good form for the playoffs which start next week. This really looks like a great game on paper but will most likely not really see much superstars playing in this meaningless game. In any case, the Spurs should be a favorite in this game depending on the status of their players.
Oklahoma City come into this game having lost 3 of their last 5 games, with 2 wins coming against extremely weak opponents such as the Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Lakers. The problem is that some of those losses need to be taken in consideration though, as the Thunder has been resting players with their comfortable position in the 3rd spot of the Western Conference. Their offense is still and will always be on point though, as they continue to rank 2nd in scoring, just behind Stephen Curry’s Golden State Warriors. It’s still unclear if the coach will play his top players here or will rest them as this game is simply meaningless game for both teams in terms of playoffs positioning.
NBA Fantasy Prediction
Los Angeles Clippers vs Oklahoma City Thunder
The Oklahoma City Thunder have only dropped one single game in their last 9 contests and with their big guys averaging near triple double digits every time. Their star, Russell Westbrook has 16 triple-doubles this campaign and leads the league in that department. He’s currently playing ball on an MVP level while his offensive partner in crime, Kevin Durant is averaging 27 pts the last 10 games with 8.3 boards and 6.9 assists. If the Thunder keep on playing this way, they will make things very interesting in the Western Conference playoffs, especially if they fall against the Spurs or the Warriors. This game is against one of their toughest opponents in the league but most importantly in the West but a Clippers team without their star will see Oklahoma City a huge favorite in this one.
The Clippers seem to have found their form lately and are coming into this matchup on a 4 game winning streak. This game will be another story as the coach decided to rest his big stars Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan and J.J. Redick against OKC. It will be a good test for their bench and Jamal Crawford but against a hot Thunder team like that, this will potentially be a blowout. With the Western conference playoffs positions close to being set, this rest is simply because the Clippers are ahead of 5th place Memphis Grizzlies by 6.5 games and sitting 4.5 games behind the Thunder.
NBA Fantasy Basketball Value Picks Thunder vs Pistons
Dominate your competition with our NBA Fantasy Basketball Value Picks, create the winning lineup at Fanpicks.com. The Oklahoma City Thunder (52-22) travel to Michigan to take on the Detroit Pistons (39-35) at Palace of Auburn Hills.
Oklahoma City is playing their finest basketball of the season right now and it couldn’t have come at a better moment. They carry an eight-game winning streak into this match-up, with seven of those coming versus teams with .500 records or better. What’s even more impressive are the margins, as they have defeated six of those teams by double-digits. The last two victories may be the most impressive, as they beat the number two ranked squads in both conferences. This will be a difficult task though, as the Thunder are in the back end of a back-to-back set and are facing a Detroit lineup that is fighting to get into the playoffs.
The Pistons come into this contest winning five of their last six, which has launched them into the eight-seed. They find themselves 2.5 games ahead the Chicago Bulls and three above the Washington Wizards. This is not a team you want to face in the playoffs either, as they have very few weaknesses. Andre Drummond leads the NBA in rebounding, Reggie Jackson continues to develop as one of the best guards in the league, and Tobias Harris provides support on the wing. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Marcus Morris are no slouches either. Despite all of that, this starting core tops the league in minutes which could become an issue when playoffs starts and extends the season.
Detroit can hold themselves against any team, but facing a top one who is having success right now is too much of a task to accomplish.
Top Fantasy Picks
G Russell Westbrook (OKC)
F Kevin Durant (OKC)
F Marcus Morris (DET)