Friday, January 4th
Oklahoma City Thunder @ Portland Trail Blazers – 10:30pm – ESPN
Two days in a row, two winners! In NBA Jam Parlance – “He’s heating up!”. I’m excited to be on a mini win streak, and can’t wait to see if I can make it to the weekend ‘On Fire’. Before I get to my free NBA bet tip for tonight, sign up for my free email newsletter. I will give you the heads up when new picks are posted each day, as well as toss in a couple leans on other games that are going on but might not be on TV.
Oklahoma City Thunder (24-13)
What’s wrong with Russ? Everyone seems really concerned with his shooting lately, and wonder if he will get back on track, or if he has lost his touch. I am in camp DGAF when it comes to this. His offensive load is way less this year with Paul George scoring 26.7 a game. Plus, the guy is still averaging a triple double! So he only gets over 30 every now and then. This is totally a non-issue, and I apologize for even wasting your time reading this far about a superstar in a shooting slump. If you look at his effective FG%, it’s only 6.5 points off of last year overall. Don’t sleep or lose sleep on Russ. He is fine, OKC is fine.
Portland Trail Blazers (22-16)
No shooting woes here for the Blazers and their star guard Damian Lillard. He has been scoring 26.7 points a game, hitting over 45% from the field, close to 40% on three pointers, and nearly 90% at the line.
Adding to the potent offense is center Jusuf Nurkic, who had a stellar game against the Sacramento Kings earlier this week. In fact, he is the first playin in three years to have a 5×5 game, and just the 13th overall since 1976.
The team as a whole has been great at home, though they have hit a rough patch lately against the Warriors, and Jazz, their only two losses in the last five games. No rest for them tonight, as the Thunder have a winning record on the road, and Portland is definitely not as intimidating a place to play as it was years ago.
For my Free NBA bet tip tonight, you will have to stay up late if you are on the East Coast. But if you do fall asleep, nothing is sweeter than waking up to a win on Saturday morning! (Yes, I’m old, and had a long night watching college basketball yesterday, I’ll be out by halftime.)
If OKC comes in and Westbrook finds his shot again, I expect the Thunder to take it to the Blazers and win by a few buckets on the road. If Portland can keep their offensive attack spread out and survive the Thunder’s defensive prowess, it may be closer, but I see them still coming up short. I like the pick’em spot OKC is in here, and am going with them as my Free bet of the night.