After the 4th consecutive win at home over LA Lakers last night, Oklahoma City Thunder are looking to add a 5th one to their account. The Thunders has a three-game lead over the Phoenix Suns for the final playoff spot in the West, and the New Orleans Pelicans are another half-game behind. OKC has and will continue to ride what Russell Westbrook can offer them. the dynamic point guard is putting up an MVP type season and has notched nine triple doubles on the year. Big man Enes Kanter has stepped up as well, grabbing 27 points and 12 boards against Miami this past Sunday. Oklahoma are holding 41-30 record but things just got harder when it was announced that Kevin Durant may not be returning anytime soon.
San Antonio were on 3 straight games winning streak before failing at Dallas last night with 101-94. They've pushed themselves to a respectable 44-26 record on the season after the struggle for the better part of two weeks this past month. The Spurs are the 9th best defensive team in the league thanks to their capable big men and the intelligent rotations that Coach Pop implements. Kawhi Leonard has been the driving force behind their ability to stay relevant as he provides elite defense along with 16 points per game. We expect a tough game were the Spurs will take a home win but will not cover the spread.
The Rockets (41-23) have split their last ten games overall and currently are in third place in the Western Conference standings. Houston trails Memphis by 2.5 games for the Southwest Division lead. SG James Harden has carried this team all season long and deserves serious MVP consideration. On Saturday, the Rockets were surprised at home in a 117-102 loss to the Phoenix Suns. Harden scored just 16 points on 5 for 19 shooting on the night.
The Indiana Pacers (28-36) have just 13 games remaining to find their way into the Eastern Conference playoffs. The Pacers were doomed early by injuries and seemed headed towards the draft lottery. However, head coach Frank Vogel rallied his troops and got them to win 13 out of 15 to get back in the race. Since then, the Pacers have lost five straight and currently trail Boston by a half game for the final playoff spot in the East. On Saturday, Indianaís defense was the issue in a 123-11 home loss to the Brooklyn Nets. The Pacers allowed the Nets to shoot 61 percent from the field in the loss.
The Utah Jazz are turning heads and laying the foundation for the future on the defensive end of the floor. The Jazz will put that defense to the test when they visit the highest-scoring team in the NBA on Saturday, the Golden State Warriors. Utah has held each of its last 12 opponents under 92 points and limited the last four to 88 or fewer behind the young frontline of Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors.
The Warriors hold a 7 1/2-game lead for the top spot in the Western Conference and could be inclined to rest some players on the second night of a back-to-back after knocking off the New Orleans Pelicans 112-96 on Friday. Golden State held the Pelicans to 42.9 percent shooting in the win and leads the NBA in field-goal percentage defense while the Jazz pace the league in scoring defense. Utah shot 44.7 percent from the field and got 26 points, 15 rebounds and six assists from Gordon Hayward in a 110-100 home win over the Warriors on 30th January.