Rest vs. rust? The debate as it pertains to betting the NBA playoffs has been raging as long as there’s been a guy on a street corner willing to take someone’s action. On what side of the fence do I stand? Both. It truly depends on the situation. In this situation, you’ve got the young Thunder who have been sitting around since May 5, when they swept away the defending champion Mavericks with a 103-97 victory. Since then, the veteran Lakers have played four games, having been taken to the wire by sixth-seeded Denver, eventually escaping the opening-round series with Saturday’s 96-87 Game 7 victory. Now, you could argue this is a ripe letdown spot for L.A., what with several of its key players carrying a lot of NBA miles on their odometer. I would argue that the Lakers are riding momentum from Saturday’s win, and I bet the letdown will come in Game 2 of this series—which is when Oklahoma City will be back in rhythm.
Which brings us back to the rest vs. rust argument: The Thunder are too young, too energetic of a squad to return to the court after a nine-day layoff and be on-point from jump. Not saying they don’t win this game; just saying I don’t see them winning it comfortably. Remember: Oklahoma City didn’t cover in either of its two home games in the Dallas series, rallying both times to win by a combined four points. Going back to the regular season, the Thunder have failed to cash in six of their last eight at home (including the last four in a row).
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆
Friday’s Result: Grizzlies (-1 1/2) vs. Clippers (Win)