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NBA Lines - Unfamiliar Foes

Posted by Elio Masi on 4/6/2012 11:25:14 AM

NBA Lines – Unfamiliar Foes

Friday night will mark the first and only meeting of the season between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Indiana Pacers. The Pacers will be looking to take advantage of home court against one of the best team in the NBA lines and hold onto third place in the standings in the process.

(40-13) Oklahoma City Thunder vs. (33-21) Indiana Pacers
Live From: Bankers Life Fieldhouse – IN
Tipoff: 7:00 PM ET, April 6, 2012
Broadcasts: FSI, FSOK, WWLS, WIBC

Targets

When you're considered the best, everyone is gunning for you. Teams build their rosters in order to defeat you and ultimately take your place atop the standings. The Oklahoma City Thunder have come to understand this tactic a little too well this NBA lines season and are finally hearing the footsteps. Although they haven't exactly played badly as of late, they are only ahead of the second place San Antonio Spurs by 1.5 games and are at risk of falling out of first because of it. With a record of 7-3 in their last 10 games, it would seem that there isn't much to worry about just yet. It is out of the Thunder's control that the Spurs are currently on a nine-game winning streak, thus putting pressure on them to play well if they want to remain first in the West. Nonetheless, the Spurs' message has been heard by Oklahoma City and the pressure will only increase from here on out. They should use the opportunity to gear up for the playoffs while locking up first place in the process.

Keeping 'Pace'

Indiana has played some really great basketball as of late and earned their current third place positioning in the East of the NBA lines because of it. What might be a little bothersome for them is the fact that they sit ahead of Orlando by only one game and might fall out of the top four because of it. As of Thursday, Orlando sits fifth with a record of 32-22 and have played the same amount of games as Indiana. Luckily, the Pacers have been solid in the last little while and have earned a 9-5 record because of it, including impressive wins over the Heat, Clippers and the 76ers during that stretch. One of the biggest parts of their game has been their rebounds. They currently sit 8th in the league in the category with 43.4 per game and they are led by Roy Hibbert – who's averaging 8.8 per game. Their ability to control the ball after a shot has been a huge part of their game and has worked thus far. If they could manage to do the same against the NBA's second best team offensively, they might be able to stay in this one.

Durant's Domination

Many would argue that Kevin Durant has simply been the best player in the NBA this season and is one of the favorites to receive the MVP honors. His 27.5 points per game is only .5 away from the NBA's leader in the category, Kobe Bryant. Anytime you're mentioned in the same sentence as a player as iconic as Kobe Bryant, it's both an honor and a testament to one's abilities. Durant is having a career NBA lines year and might be able to finish it off with a championship considering the depth and skill of his team. At the age of 23, Durant's future with Oklahoma seems very bright and he should be able to quarterback them to many victories in the near future.

Elio's Edge

This one might come down to home court advantage. The Pacers are 17-7 at home this year while the Thunder are 17-8 on the road. However, statistics are just statistics and when two teams have yet to play each other, it makes it all the more interesting. It'll be difficult for the Pacers to deal with the likes of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden – the Thunder should win this game. I'm betting on a 108-98 victory for Durant and his teammates. Look for Kevin Durant to light it up, should hit 30-plus in the game and continue his domination of the NBA lines.

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