Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Golden State Warriors

Oracle Arena | Oakland, CA

October 16, 2018 | 10:30 PM EST

The 2018-19 NBA Western Conference slate will kickoff with a matchup between the Oklahoma City Thunder (0-0) and the Golden State Warriors. OKC figures to still maintain status as playoff contender in the gauntlet of the West, having retained free agent Paul George and shedded the likes of Carmelo Anthony. Golden State, meanwhile, will kick off their second straight title defense, and looks to become the first NBA team to three-peat since the 2000-02 Los Angeles Lakers.

Projected Starting Lineups
Oklahoma City ThunderGolden State Warriors
Dennis SchröderPGStephen Curry
Terrance FergusonSGKlay Thompson
Paul GeorgeSFKevin Durant
Patrick PattersonPFDraymond Green
Steven AdamsCDamian Jones

Oklahoma City enters the 2018-19 campaign without undoubtedly their best player, point guard Russell Westbrook, who is currently sidelined with a knee injury. Dennis Schröder figures to take over his spot in the starting five; he’s a capable scorer (15.2 ppg in 2017-18 for the Thunder) but Westbrook’s athleticism and playmaking will be sorely missed against an opponent of the Warriors’ caliber. To make matters worse, standout OKC center Steven Adams is listed as questionable to play Tuesday night, dealing an even bigger blow to an offense that figures to struggle scoring without Westbrook. Golden State continues to have their four All-Stars in the starting lineup, with a turnstile at the center position. Damian Jones is likely to slot in as the big for Steve Kerr, with free agent acquisition DeMarcus Cousins working through an injury that will keep him out until likely mid-winter. But it’s the guards that, as usual, will be the focal point for the always-lethal Warriors lineup in tonight’s opener.

The ever-raucous Oracle Arena crowd figures to be in full throat in the final series opener before the team will move to a new arena in San Francisco in 2019-20, and I expect the Warriors to have a decent amount of success scoring on the shorthanded Thunder team tonight. That said, the OKC offense is a question mark after Paul George, with injuries to key contributors Westbrook and Adams, and Golden State certainly has the personnel to defend a high-scoring small forward, with the defensive adeptness of Thompson and Durant. I like the under in the opener, banking on Oklahoma City to have struggles scoring the basketball with seemingly one major offensive option in George.

Our Free NBA Pick: Under 222 (-115)

Connor Woods

A professional sports capper, Connor graduated from the University of Alabama and supports the Crimson Tide in addition to four major teams in Chicago: the Cubs, Bears, Blackhawks, and Bulls. One of his passions is visiting MLB stadiums - he's currently seen a game in 17 of the 30 active parks.

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