NBA Basketball: Oklahoma City Thunder VS Los Angeles Lakers Pick and Predictions 03/24/2023

by James Q

NBA Basketball: Oklahoma City Thunder VS Los Angeles Lakers Pick and Predictions 03/24/2023

Game: 10:40 PM ET, Friday, March 24th, 2023
Venue: Arena, Los Angeles, California
TV:  NBA League Pass

Season Record
Thunder: 36-37, 11th place Western Conference
Lakers: 36-37, 10th place Western Conference

Opening NBA odds at USA Sportsbooks

BetMGM:  Point Spread:  Lakers -4.5, O/U 230.5
PointsBet: Point Spread:  Lakers -4.5, O/U 231
Fanduel: Point Spread:  Lakers -5, O/U 231.5

Starting Five:

Thunder: PG Shai Gilgeous Alexander, SG Josh Giddey. SF Luguentz Dort, PF Jaylen Williams, C Jaylin Williams
Lakers: PG De’Angelo Russell (DD), SG Austin Reeves, SF Troy Brown JR, PF Jarred Vanderbilt, C Anthony Davis (DD)

A Western Conference battle between the 10 and 11th place teams who happen to be tied in the standings… since we know the 10th place team will make a “Play-in” game while the 11th place team will be left out in the cold?... You would think this game was tight?... However the Oklahoma City Thunder have the talent to win but not the motivation.  The OKC Thunder are living on borrowed time until next season.  Next season they will add C Chet Holmgren (last year’s #2 overall pick 7’3 Center) and whoever they draft this season.. To a starting five that features the league’s best young backcourt in PG Shai Gilgeous Alexander and Josh Giddey… Particularly Alexander who is easily top-ten in the league among all players.  So they have time and no immediate motivation.  The Los Angeles Lakers on the other hand will be waving goodbye to PF/PG LeBron James (the GOAT) as he will undoubtedly join whatever team drafts his son in 2025 as a free agent. Until then the Lakers have only a two-year window before decade of irrelevance.  Plus LeBron is injured at the moment.. So it is up to the new supporting cast top get LeBron into this season’s playoffs.  C Anthony Davis is listed as Day to Day and PG De’Angelo Russell is listed as Day to Day.  The Lakers are enjoying a little spell of SG Austin Reeves (who could play SF PG SG) as this undrafted, unknown player has burst onto the scene as a hero and intense scorer.  The great betting opportunity in this game is found in motivation (Lakers) and availability (Thunder)... Let’s see the prediction!

The Oklahoma City Thunder have won  7 of their last 10 games.  They got PG Shai Gilgeous Alexander (as good as 3 Austin Reeves) back from injury and have been on a tear with a young, athletic, unprepared to win this year team. They went 7-3 ATS during that stretch.  They lost their last game against the Los Angeles Clippers (after beating them the game before) 127-105. In the loss they got 30 points from PG Shai Gilgeous Alexander and 18 points from SG Josh Giddey.. The rest of the team mostly let them down. Whether it was the J. Williams at C struggling on offense or the J. Williams at PF struggling on defense.  These two Williams boys are not starters… but next season they will translate into very valuable, battle tested, DEPTH coming off the bench.

The Los Angeles Lakers have won 6 of their last 10 games and are on a 2-game winning streak thanks to SG Austin Reeves (who actually serves as more of a point guard).  They went 5-5 ATS during that stretch. They beat the Phoenix Suns in their last game 122-111. In the win they got 25 points & 11 assists from SG Austin Reeves (he has averaged 18.4 ppg over the last 10 as his assists keep going up).  But they also got 27 points & 9 rebounds from C Anthony Davis… and 26 points from PG/SG De’Angelo Russell.  After a season of LeBron James and sometimes Anthony Davis playing on what felt like a deserted island?  They now threaten to make the playoffs with a surprising amount of depth thanks to the trade deadline.

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Oklahoma City Thunder VS Los Angeles Lakers Prediction

Our prediction for Friday, March 24th is….  Thunder 122 - Lakers 120 

Bet on the Thunder and take your free points for your pocket if they end up losing.  The Lakers have been on a roll (of sorts…) and are threatening.. But they have no guard on their roster that can stop Shai Gilgeous Alexander…. Meanwhile he can stop all of theirs.  Plus this leaves C Anthony Davis with the pressure to get a win… what happens to AD when there is pressure?... He crumples to the floor in pain usually.  

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NBA Betting Trends

The Thunder are 4-1 ATS versus the Lakers in Los Angeles the last 3 seasons.
The Lakers are 7-17 ATS after 2 or more consecutive home wins the last 3 seasons.

Players To Watch

Thunder: Pg Shai Gilgeous Alexander.  Get to know him.  He is a shooting star.  You have a decade of him mopping the league with his immense talent (considering he was drafted in 2018 and slow rolled by the Clippers who didn;t know what they had)... If his team gets this coming offseason right?... Shai could very well end up as a winner of the whole damn thing.

Lakers: SG Austin Reeves.  Everyone will be watching Austin now.  The kid had a 35 point game in a Laker win and followed it with a 24 point  & 11 assist game in a Laker win.  ESPN went nuts with coverage of the undrafted kid that had to go to a satellite tryout to even get a Laker summer league invitation 3 seasons ago.  He is from a small town in Arkansas and his recent play has bought him solid contract offers in his coming restricted free agency.


Thunder: Mark “and the funky bunch” Daugneault 
Lakers: Darvin “Hammy Hampster” Ham

James Q

About the Author:

James Q. has been involved with sports and gambling his entire life. A former division 1 scholarship basketball player, James understands sports (and especially basketball) inside-and-out. Following his basketball playing days, James parlayed his gambling skills into a semi-pro poker career. James resides in Los Angeles, and especially loves the Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Rams, and Los Angeles Dodgers. And when he isn't betting on sports (and writing about it), James can be found performing stand-up comedy on the Sunset Strip.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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