Los Angeles Clippers (3-7, 1-2 road) vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (5-4, 2-2 home)
View from the enemy: ClipperBlog
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 101.6 (25th), Clippers – 102.0 (24th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 98.0 (3rd), Clippers – 106.6 (18th)
Pace: Thunder – 91.1 (24th), Clippers – 93.9 (13th)
Because it never, ever gets old. Fifth win last season: Jan. 6. Third road win: Jan 21. This season, Nov. 14 for both. That’d be two months ahead of schedule kids. That’s good.
But if this team wants to start taking steps toward .500 or even the playoffs, games like tonight have to be taken care. Have to. None of this, “Oh, came out flat and we’ll get ‘em next time” stuff. You’re playing a 3-7 team at home, without two of its best players. You should win. Simple.
I realize there are the excuses of tired legs from last night and coming down from a big win. You think the Lakers don’t have to battle that? Or the Blazers? Or the Suns? Those teams bring it every night, home or road. And when you’re at home and you’ve got momentum building, you need to take care of business. Especially with a tough two-week run ahead.
This is exactly the same matchup we saw under a week ago in Los Angeles. No Blake Griffin. No Eric Gordon. The Clips are going to rely on Chris Kaman to score inside and hope Rasual Butler and Baron Davis can give them something from outside. Nenad Krstic had some trouble in the first half against Kaman, but Serge Ibaka came in and gave great energy on The Caveman and even Krstic tightened up late in the game. This is where the game hinges: Keep Marcus Camby off the offensive glass (he didn’t have an offensive rebound in the first meeting) and limit Kaman’s low block touches. That’s a recipe for win.
You’ve got to love KD going against Al Thornton. Durant had 30 in L.A. in the first meeting and the Clips really had nobody to defend him. I’d suspect a potentially big night from Durant. James Harden was big off the bench last night in San Antonio and he’s going to be called upon again tonight I’m sure to add some supplementary scoring. Jeff Green may have some trouble getting lose tonight in the paint so he’s going to have to have his jumper going. And Krstic is going to have looks because the Clips bigs are paint dwellers and aren’t going to want to come out and defend the screen and roll.
Hopefully Russell Westbrook rides the wave tonight and has another solid game, making up for his stinker in L.A. a few days ago. Again, this is a game the Thunder should take care of. I’m having visions of 6-4 and it looks good. We all hoped to be 5-4 coming home after the short roadie, but I don’t think we had a victory in San Antonio in mind. So now the Thunder has an opportunity to get a win heading into a tough week.
And keep in mind, if you’re going, bring two cans of food and you get a voucher for a future game. Plus, it’s just a good thing to do.
Tip at 6:00 CST. Go TCB.