Date and Time: Sunday, February 9th, 2014 1:00 PM EST on ABC

Game Line: Oklahoma City -9 Total (Over/Under): 200.5 (from JustBet)

Sunday NBA analysis: The Oklahoma City Thunder will look to continue their winning ways on Sunday when they host the New York Knicks.

The Thunder is without a doubt the league’s hottest team, winning 12 out of their last 14 games. They are coming off a somewhat disappointing loss at Orlando, after back to back wins over Memphis and Minnesota. Kevin Durant is having an MNP caliber season averaging 31 ppg this season. There’s something to be said about their recent run, because it’s been without the services of star point guard Russell Westbrook. The Thunder are currently 6th in the league in scoring, averaging 104.9 ppg and are 4th in the league in rebounding averaging 45.6 rpg. Statistically they are one of the better defensive teams in the league, limiting opponents to 34% shooting from the field, while allowing 97.5 ppg.

The New York Knicks season has been a disappointing one, with rumors of a coaching change becoming more rampant. The Knicks actually looked quite impressive last Friday, dominating the Denver Nuggets 117-90. Following a 4 game win streak, the Knicks lost 3 consecutive games in a row to Miami, Milwaukee, and Portland. Just when the Knicks look like they are going to turn around their season, they follow it up with lackluster performances. The Knicks have the talent to get the job done, but it’s their lack of consistency on both sides of the ball that has contributed to their losing record. The Knicks average 97.2 ppg while shooting 44.4% from the field. They are one of the worst rebounding teams in the league, averaging 40.3 rpg (27th in the NBA). Defensively they are allowing 98.7 ppg while holding the opposition to 45.7% shooting from the field.

The number in this game opened up at 10 and 10 ½ in some spots, and now the number is down to 9. As much as I’d like to back the Thunder at home, one thing is preventing me from doing so. Back on Christmas day, the Knicks were embarrassed at home by this same Thunder team 123-94. It was a game that was filled with by boos from the home crowd at Madison Square Garden. I like the Knicks in this spot and I’m backing them on Sunday. While I don’t expect them to win the game outright, I do expect them to be quite competitive. The Thunder have a big game on deck against Portland (a team that’s beaten them twice), so they might be looking ahead a tad. I’ve said it before that revenge is an often overused term in handicapping but when a team is embarrassed on the home floor, they take it personal.  I look at the situation against San Antonio this season. The Knicks were embarrassed at home on national TV, losing by 31 at the Garden. The Knicks responded more than a month later with a 105-101 win at San Antonio the next time around. I expect a motivated effort from the Knicks on Sunday afternoon, giving the Thunder all they can handle and definitely keeping it closer than what the oddsmakers forecast.

New York Knicks at Oklahoma City Thunder Free NBA Pick: New York +9 Over 200.5

New York Knicks at Oklahoma City Thunder Game Prediction: Oklahoma City 105 New York 100


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