The red Oklahoma City Thunder put their winning streak on the line against the struggling Cleveland Cavaliers in an inter-conference showdown on Wednesday 11/7/18 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.
After losing their first four games of the season, the Oklahoma City Thunder have now won five in a row. In their most recent game last Monday, the Thunder bumped off the New Orleans Pelicans 122-116 at their home court. But the victory was bittersweet because Russell Westbrook suffered an ankle injury in the third quarter of the game while going for a rebound against Anthony Davis.
Luckily for the Thunder, Westbrook’s x-rays came negative and his injury was declared as a sprain but the 2017 NBA MVP has been declared out for this game and will be re-evaluated on Thursday. Without Westbrook, Dennis Schroeder will once again be called upon to start for OKC. Schroeder is averaging 15.4 points and 5.6 assists per game this season so the Thunder don’t have to worry much, especially against the woeful Cavaliers.
Cleveland’s first 10 games of the post-LeBron James era has been disappointing to say the least. The Cavs were the last team to earn a win this season and since getting that elusive first victory, they have lost three in a row for the third time this season. Cleveland is without doubt missing the king and they are still looking for the heir to his throne.
Kevin Love was supposed to be the Cavs’ main man this season. But the 6-10 forward has missed the Cavs’ last six games with a toe injury. Love underwent surgery last week and is expected to be out for at least six weeks. Before he got hurt, Love led the Cavs in scoring ( 19.0 PPG), rebounds (13.5 RPG) and assists (3.5 APG). Love’s absence will make Cleveland’s life much more difficult in the coming weeks.
Oklahoma City leads their all-time series against Cleveland 63-48 but the Cavs have won six out of the last 10 meetings between these two teams. The have split their two games per season the previous two years but the Thunder have taken two out of the last three games between them. OKC is 2-2 on the road this year while Cleveland is 1-4 at the “Q” this season.
The Thunder are undefeated SU in their last five games but are 2-5 SU in their last seven road games played. The Cavaliers are 1-13 SU in their last 14 games overall but are 5-2 in their last seven games against the Thunder and are also 9-3 SU in their last 12 games versus OKC in Cleveland.
Both teams will be without their top players in this game but that’s not going to make this game even. Without Love, the next leading scorers in the team are reserves Jordan Clarkson and Cedi Osman but the Thunder will still have All-Star forward Paul George to lead them against Cleveland. George is averaging 22.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 2.56 steals per game.
Even without Westbrook, the Thunder will still have an elite point guard running the show as Dennis Schroeder was the Atlanta Hawks’ former starting point guard before he was traded to the Thunder. Schroeder started the first two games of the season when Westbrook was injured. He averaged 14.5 points and 7.0 assists as a starter.
Lastly, the Thunder will carry the momentum of a five game winning streak to Cleveland. Meanwhile, the Cavs are 1-9 this season and are only 1-4 at home this season. No question the Cavs are going to miss Love more than the Thunder are going to feel Westbrook’s absence in this game. We’re picking the Oklahoma City Thunder to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers on 11/7/18
The Thunder are 4-1 ATS in their last five games played and also 4-1 ATS in their last five road games. The Cavs are 5-5 ATS in their 10 games played this season but are 1-4 ATS in four home games so far during the 2018-19 NBA season. Against the Thunder, the Cavs are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games overall and 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games versus the Thunder at the Quicken Loans Arena.
Six of Cleveland’s nine losses this season have been by double digits and eight have been by at least seven points. Meanwhile, the Thunder’s average winning margin in their current five game winning streak is 11.6 points per game. These are two teams that are heading opposite ways in the previous week. No Westbrook, No problem for the Thunder- at least in this game only. Prediction: Thunder -6.5
The over is 4-1 in the Thunder’s last five games played but the total has gone under in four out of their last five games on the road and also under in five out of their last six games against Eastern Conference teams. The under is 5-2 in the Cavaliers’ last seven games and the under is 9-4 in their last 13 games against the Thunder in Cleveland. Overall though, the total has gone over in four out of the last six games between the Thunder and the Cavs.
Most of the trends point to the under. The absence of Kevin Love on one side and Russell Westbrook on the other side should affect greatly the scoring of this game. You can’t expect two teams missing their top scorers to put on their usual points on the board. Prediction: Under 221.5