It’s a star-studded NBA on TNT doubleheader this Thursday night with potentially four former league MVPs taking the court in the two games – although one might sit out with an ankle injury and in the second of a back-to-back.
Odds courtesy of OddsShark.com
The opening game of the twin-bill is Houston at Oklahoma City, featuring the NBA’s past two MVPs in the Rockets’ James Harden and the Thunder’s Russell Westbrook. However, the status of Mr. Triple-Double is definitely in doubt. OKC is just starting to play well and won its fifth straight game Monday but Westbrook left with what is being called a sprained left ankle in the third quarter against the Pelicans.
The injury looked severe on replays, but X-rays were negative. Still, it seems unlikely that Westbrook will go because it will be the second of a back-to-back for Oklahoma City as it visited a terrible Cleveland team on Wednesday night – in which Westbrook sat. Then again, Westbrook is so competitive that he’ll surely want to play against his former teammate and now rival Harden. The Rockets opened at -4.5 but that line could change depending on Westbrook’s status.
Houston also appears to be turning the corner with a three-game winning streak – all on the road – following a 1-5 start. The Rockets were 1-2 against the Thunder last year; the teams were separated by a total of one point in the three games. The road team is 6-1 ATS in the past seven in the series.
The nightcap is a potential NBA Finals preview between the Milwaukee Bucks and Golden State Warriors from Oakland. Each team leads its respective conference by a mile in point differential. The Warriors have two former league MVPs in Kevin Durant and Steph Curry, and the Bucks have an early favorite for the 2019 award in Giannis Antetokounmpo. Barring major injury, the Greek Freak seems destined to win at least one in his career.
Curry, the two-time MVP winner, might be off to the best start of his career as he’s averaging a league-high 31.3 points per game. The Warriors are on an eight-game winning streak and averaging 128.5 points during that streak. They lead the NBA at 123.5 points per game.
Golden State is simply unstoppable when at full health and motivated – but won’t be Thursday. One of their five All-Stars, Draymond Green, injured his right foot in Monday’s win over Memphis. X-rays were negative, but the Warriors have ruled him out for Thursday.
The Bucks did win in Oakland last year, but Curry and Klay Thompson were out injured and Durant played just a half. Milwaukee is an opening 7-point dog but has covered eight of its past nine at the Warriors.