Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Boston Celtics
NBA Basketball: Friday, July 24, 2020 at 5:00 pm (VISA Athletic Center)
The Line: Boston Celtics -3 -- O/U: 185.5 Click to Get Latest Betting Odds
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The Oklahoma City Thunder and the Boston Celtics meet in an NBA preseason game from the VISA Athletic Center on Friday.
The Oklahoma City Thunder come into the bubble sitting on a solid 40-24 record and the #5 seed in the Western Conference at the time that the NBA was paused due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. Oklahoma City appeared headed for a rebuild when Paul George and Russell Westbrook were traded in the offseason, but OKC were resilient, leaning on guys like Chris Paul Dennis Schroder and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to get to where they are. Since Thanksgiving Day, the Thunder had the 3rd-best record in the NBA, only behind the Bucks and Lakers, at 34-13, including an astounding 23-8 ATS on the road up to this point in the year. The Thunder will definitely be a team to watch down the stretch as this could be a team that makes some noise in the bubble.
The Boston Celtics on the other hand, enter the bubble in 3rd in the Eastern Conference with a record of 43-21, but a playoff spot was already clinched for Boston as they lead a group of four teams between 3rd and 6th that are all within 4.5 games of each other. The good news for Boston is that 2.5 games separate 3rd and 4th, so there’s a bit of breathing room for the C’s there. The break allowed the Celtics to get fully healthy, at least potentially, with Kemba Walker’s ailing knee still a concern, especially with bring thrust back into high-level competition but we’re being assured he’s good to go. Jayson Tatum will be tasked with leading the Celtics into battle as he’s quickly grown into one of the league’s brightest young stars, averaging 18.9 PPG this season, including 30.7 PPG and 7.9 RPG in February and 24.8 PPG in four games in March. Only time will tell though if Tatum can maintain that high level of play going forward.
This is a game that I wouldn’t have missed if it was on either team’s restart schedule, as you have two of the better teams in their respective conferences duking it out here. With that said, there’s no line yet to go off of for this game, but I’m expecting the Celtics to be slight favorites here, and while OKC fared well on the road, I just like Boston’s depth a little bit more, especially if Tatum can keep up the pace he was on before things stopped. I’ll lean Celtics for now but confirm once a line is posted.