Thunder, Nuggets part of Christmas NBA betting

By: Joe Freda | Friday, December 24, 2010
Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook leads the Thunder in assists while scoring 22+ PPG.

The Oklahoma City Thunder have a 6-2 NBA spread record in their last eight contests, with the ‘under’ also going 6-2.  Scott Brooks’ squad begins a four-game homestand with Saturday’s Christmas rumble against the Denver Nuggets, who are 4-7 ATS in their first 11 games of December.

Oklahoma City ended a two-game road swing with Wednesday’s 112-98 setback as a one-point dog against the New York Knicks.  The Thunder trailed by as many as 22 points, while outrebounding the Knicks, 53-43.

Thunder forward Kevin Durant put up a team-high 26 points, shooting 9-for-18 from the field.  The 2010 NBA scoring champ added seven boards and three assists.

Durant’s mate Russell Westbrook notched 23 points, while logging a team-high five assists.  The three-year guard connected on 10-of-24 field buckets, while finishing with four of his squad’s 14 turnovers.

The lopsided affair’s combined 210 points ducked below the ‘total’ of 216 ½, bringing the ‘under’ to 7-2 in Oklahoma City’s last nine games.  Durant and Co. drained a lowly 3-of-17 from beyond the arc, while sinking 19-of-25 from the foul line.

The Thunder are 7-8 ATS in their first 15 home dates, with the ‘over’ cashing at 11-4.  Oklahoma City has scorched its visiting foes for 106.1 PPG in that span.

Denver was edged out, 109-103, as an eight-point road dog in Wednesday’s battle against the San Antonio Spurs .  The Nuggets blew a nine-point lead, getting outscored in the fourth quarter, 29-14.

Nuggets guard Arron Afflalo logged his first double-double in 15 games, finishing with 12 points and 10 boards.  The 25-year-old added three assists and two steals.

Denver’s J.R. Smith and Ty Lawson each notched a team-high 22 points.  The duo united to drain 6-of-13 from three-point land.

The contest’s combined 212 points stayed a ‘hook’ south of its 212 ½-point closing ‘total.’  Denver outscored the Spurs in the paint, 46-36, while allowing a sizable 52.6 percent field shooting.

Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony did not play in the matchup due to a death in his family.  The team’s leading scorer (24 PPG) and rebounder (8.3 RPG) is expected to also miss Saturday’s game, according to the injury report.

Denver improved to 5-7-1 ATS in its first 13 road games, with the ‘under’ moving to 10-3.  George Karl’s crew has given up 104.5 PPG in that stretch, allowing foes to shoot 48.4 percent from the field.

Oklahoma City is 4-1 ATS in its last five home meetings against the Nuggets, with the ‘over’ going 3-2.

The rivals have not met since the Nuggets’ 98-94 win as 2 ½-point road dogs last April.  The Thunder went 1-for-14 from beyond the arc, while outscoring Denver in the paint, 56-36.

Saturday’s tip is scheduled for 5 p.m. (PT), with ESPN providing the national television coverage.

Denver is playing the front end of a back-to-back spot, returning home for Sunday’s matchup against the Philadelphia 76ers.  Oklahoma City will have one day off before hosting the Dallas Mavericks as part of Monday’s league slate.

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