The Thunder’s schedule is difficut the next five games.
Three Ford Center opponents — Portland (Sunday), Lakers (Tuesday) and Orlando (Nov. 8) feature last year’s two NBA finalists and the 54-win Trail Blazers. The two road games — Detroit (tonight) and Houston (next Friday) — are more winnable but… they’re on the road.
Since Oklahoma City will be an underdog in all five games, securing one or two wins the next nine days would be a good start for the young Thunder.
After a so-so record making daily NBA picks here is Friday’s predictions:
Detroit 94, Thunder 90: This is a game the Thunder could win but the Pistons were impressive in their 22-point road win at Memphis. For OKC to post the upset (they’re a 7-point underdog), the Thunder must at least break even on the boards and score some points in transition.
LA Lakers 99, Dallas 92: A deeper roster was supposed to take some pressure off Dirk Nowitzki but that wasn’t the case in the opener. Lakers should improve to 2-0 but they haven’t hit the road, yet, even though that shouldn’t be an issue.
Boston 96, Chicago 88: The Celtics have been impressive. The Bulls now discover what the Spurs did Thursday night, that playing back-to-back nights, the second game on the road, is difficult.
Atlanta 98, Washington 96: One of the better games tonight. Gilbert Arenas and the Wizards played well in a road win at Dallas. The Hawks won at home. They win again at home but Washington has a shot.
Miami 96, Indiana 94: The Pacers are a slight favorite but D-Wade finds a way to get the Heat a valuable road win.
Philadelphia 98, Milwaukee 88: The Sixers try to bounce back after losing at Atlanta. Believe it or not, the Bucks haven’t played a game, yet.
Cleveland 96, Minnesota 90: The 0-2 Cavs get a break by playing Minnesota but the Timberwolves are at home. Still, LeBron and Shaq take out their frustration on rookie coach Kurt Rambis’ squad.
Orlando 90, New Jersey 85: Vince Carter’s return to Jersey. The Magic hits the road for the first time. The Nets blew a big lead at Minnesota but this is their home opener. Carter gets the last laugh.
New Orleans 96, Sacramento 86: After an ugly opening loss at Dallas, the Hornets right the ship with a home win over the hapless Kings.
Phoenix 106, Golden St. 98: The Suns posted a solid road win against the Clippers. Their home opener is against a Warriors team that couldn’t beat Houston at home.
Utah 96, Clippers 90: The Jazz are tough at home. The Clippers, a team some say is a playoff contender, are 0-2 and in danger of falling to 0-3 if they can’t post an unlikely road upset.
Toronto 95, Memphis 90: The Raptors looked good at home against LeBron and the Cavs. Memphis was horrible. But at least the Grizzlies are at home. But they were at home Wednesday night, too, and were embarrassed.
New York 98, Charlotte 95: The Bobcats are favored at home but after their dismal franchise-record low point total at Boston the high-scoring Knicks will post the upset.