The Lakers will enter tonight winners of two straight games, looking to continue their push into the play-in tournament. They will look to continue their winning ways tonight as they play host to the OKC Thunder, who have the same overall record as them. We’ll preview the game before going over why I’ll be targeting the first-half point total.
Over the past ten games, the OKC Thunder have put up a solid 7-3 record, yet they still rank 16th in NET rating with a (-.6). Offensive inconsistencies are the cause of the negative NET rating, as they rank 25th in offensive efficiency. Over that ten-game stretch, the Thunder have scored 111 or fewer points in six of them, and in the other four, they scored 121 or more points.
The Thunder will enter tonight off a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, in which they were held to 105 points. Oklahoma City was able to split the back-to-back with the Clippers by winning a defensive battle in the first game with a final score of 101-100. Their defense has been able to offset some major shooting woes over the last ten games, as OKC has the third worse field goal percentage in the league in that span.
It will likely be a challenge for them to snap out of their cold streak tonight against a Lakers team with the third-best defensive efficiency rating over the last ten games. Los Angeles has gone 6-4 in that span and held seven of their opponents to 111 points or less, as opponents have an average field goal percentage of just 45.4%.
In their most recent game, the Lakers were able to beat the Phoenix Suns 122-111. In the win, LA was impressive on both ends of the floor, as they shot 56% from the field and had three players finish with 25 or more points. With their 6th ranked NET rating over the past ten games, there is no denying the Lakers are emptying the tank in order to make the postseason.
The first-half point total is currently set at 119.5 points, and I’ll be taking the under as my play in this one. Over the last ten games, the 1H under is 6-4 for both teams and when at home this season, the Lakers have seen the 1H under go 23-14. The Lakers seemed to have upped their defensive intensity recently, and OKC is the perfect team to continue their impressive stretch against.
Over the past ten games, the Thunder rank 5th in 1H defensive efficiency rating, and the Lakers rank 7th, so both sides have shown they can limit scoring right from tip-off recently. With the way they're playing, Los Angeles has the ability to lock down the Thunder right away, especially since OKC is 23rd in 1H offensive efficiency in the same ten-game stretch.
No team over the past ten games has a worst 1H field goal percentage than the Thunder. Los Angeles hasn’t exactly torched the nets in the first half either, as they are 18th in field goal percentage in that same span. Overall both sides have relied heavily on defense recently, and with the way the Thunder are playing on offense, I think this is a great spot to target the total.
1H Under 119.5