It was a light slate of action for the NBA on Tuesday evening, but the league has a heavy, 14-game pre-Thanksgiving feast on Wednesday night that should feature its fair share of drama.
The most anticipated game will be in Oklahoma City when the Thunder host the Warriors in the first window of ESPN’s doubleheader. The nightcap is heavy on big-name rookies with the Lakers visiting the Kings.
Here’s your guide on who to pick in Contest General action.
Golden State Warriors at Oklahoma City Thunder
Despite the high drama of the Russell Westbrook vs. Kevin Durant feud, these games were largely uncompetitive last year with the Warriors winning all four by an average margin of nearly 20 points.
Westbrook was extremely inefficient in these games, posting at least 10 turnovers twice and shooting just 38 percent from the field. But, he’s back with a new cast of characters that may match up better with Golden State’s small-ball tendencies.
The Thunder are just 7-9, but they’re much better than their record indicates with seven of those nine losses coming to teams in the top eight of their respective conference. All nine setbacks have come by single digits and four of them have been by four points or fewer.
Oklahoma City ranks third in defensive rating (points per 100 possessions), which will be tested against a Golden State squad that leads the league in points per game and offensive rating.
The Warriors have won 10 of the last 11 meetings with OKC’s lone win coming at home.
The Thunder finally have scoring help for Westbrook with Paul George and Carmelo Anthony, which also allows them to be extremely potent going small. Anthony doesn’t defend bigger power forwards extremely well, so the Draymond Green matchup is more in his wheelhouse.
OKC may be the team best equipped to knock off the Warriors in a best-of-7 format. But, with the way the Boston game went last week coupled with Golden State’s impressive comeback against the 76ers, it seems unlikely the Warriors will lose anytime soon.
This will be another statement game for Steve Kerr and company.
Los Angeles Lakers at Sacramento Kings
Not many people expected much from either franchise this season. The Lakers have the youngest roster in the NBA and the only thing keeping the Kings from joining them was the signing of 40-year-old Vince Carter and 36-year-old Zach Randolph. This matchup is all about the young talent.
Through the first month of the season, the Lakers continue to remain relevant using depth and balance. Seven different players are averaging double figures with rookie Kyle Kuzma being the team’s best player to this point.
The Kings are struggling and will likely look to change their fortunes through another top-5 pick in a loaded draft class.
Lonzo Ball vs. De’Aaron Fox is by far the most intriguing part of this game. The last time these two rookies shared the same court was last March in the Sweet 16. Fox scored 39 points, Ball had 10 points and eight assists and Kentucky made quick work of UCLA.
The Kentucky product has not been shy about the budding rivalry between the two and both rookies have been productive this season.
But, Ball and the Lakers—losers of nine of their last 11 against the Kings—will win this matchup.