Thunder vs. Warriors: Golden State's Defense Too Tough

Action Network contributor Andrew O'Connor-Watts previews Tuesday's NBA game between the Thunder and Warriors, including betting odds and a prediction.

Thunder vs. Warriors Odds

Thunder Odds +8
Warriors Odds -8
Over/Under 242.5
Time 10 p.m. ET
TV NBA League Pass
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Oklahoma City Thunder travel to the Bay Area to take on the Golden State Warriors Tuesday night. This is the fourth and final regular season meeting between the two teams and both could use the win to improve their chances of playing past Easter Sunday.

A win for the Warriors would put them a half-game ahead of the Los Angeles Clippers for the No. 5 seed, while a win for the Thunder puts them a half-game behind the Minnesota Timberwolves and 1.5 games ahead of the Dallas Mavericks to remain as the No. 10 seed.

It’s still a bit murky as to Dallas’ status, but reports came out recently that suggested Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving could be shut down for the remainder of the season, which would give the Thunder some more positional breathing room.

I’ll breakdown the odds and make a pick for Thunder vs. Warriors below.

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Oklahoma City Thunder

The Thunder have been the best team against the spread for the past two seasons at 94-33-4, according to Statmuse, but in the past seven games, they haven’t covered the spread once and are just 2-5 straight up.

Most Improved Player candidate Shai Gilgeous-Alexander missed two of the last four games, but their struggles began before he started missing games and things haven’t been clicking on either end of the floor.

The Thunder are an old school team that attacks opponents’ interior above all else, ranking second in Rim Rate and bottom-10 in both midrange and 3-point rate, per Cleaning the Glass.

Unfortunately for the Thunder, the Warriors do well to limit shots at the rim despite a relatively soft interior. They force opponents to the middle of the floor, allowing the most shots from midrange in the league.

While I don’t expect the Thunder to be able to keep up with Golden State offensively, Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey are two guys who may find themselves some buckets.

SGA and Giddey rank in the 83rd and 97th percentile when it comes to percentage of shots taken in the short midrange — an area the Warriors are particularly vulnerable to defensively.

Golden State Warriors

Just when it seemed like things were turning around for the Warriors on the road, they lose a stinker to the Nuggets without Nikola Jokic.

Surprisingly, defense wasn’t the issue for Golden State as it has been all season on the road. Instead, the Warriors struggled to hit threes, going just 9-of-42 from beyond the arc. But the fact that their defense wasn’t the problem could be seen as a positive for the Warriors.

While their record hasn’t been good lately — just 5-5 straight up and 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games — some signs of light are showing.

Second-year wing Jonathan Kuminga has showed promise lately, averaging 12.9 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.1 assists. He’s also seeing more playing time as a result of his improved play, averaging 24.2 minutes per game compared to his season average of 20.8.

He has the highest True Shooting Percentage (66.9%) and Effective Field Goal Percentage (67.1%) of anyone on the Warriors seeing more than 15 minutes per game. His points prop has been set high lately, but if we see it at 12.5, I like an over for him.

Thunder-Warriors Pick

I can’t bet against the Warriors at home — especially with the way the Thunder are playing lately — but eight points is right around my number. Instead, I’ll back the Warriors’ defense at home, which has a 104.7 efficiency rating in their last 10 at Chase Center.

Meanwhile, the Thunder have just a 109.4 Offensive Rating in their last 10 road games and have gone under the team total in all but one game in that span.

I like the full game under, but all three meetings this season have gone over. Instead, I’ll take the Thunder team total under down to 113.

Let’s also monitor Kuminga props when those come out. Follow me in the Action App (AOWatts) to see how I play this matchup beyond the team total.

Pick: Thunder team total Under 116.5 — Play to 113