Los Angeles Clippers (3-5, 2-3 home) vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (3-4, 1-2 road)
View from the enemy: ClipperBlog
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 101.7 (22nd), Clippers – 102.9 (21st)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 97.2 (4th), Clippers – 106.2 (14th)
Pace: Thunder – 91.2 (24th), Clippers – 98.2 (5th)
Oh boy! It’s Oklahoma native Blake Griffin against his hometown! What a matchup! The anticip– what’s that? Oh.
The Clippers had won three straight, but got absolutely waxed by New Orleans Monday night. Their three wins: Memphis, Golden State, Minnesota. Combined record: 4-18. Probably the most impressive game the Clips have had was a two-point loss to Phoenix. Other than that, they really haven’t been competitive in their other losses. And after the way Oklahoma City played in a “should win” game last night, it would make sense for the Thunder to come out excited and with something to prove. We had visions of two straight on the road, but honestly a split is a step forward from last year.
It’s all about Chris Kaman inside. He’s been outstanding thus far for L.A., averaging over 20 a game. And with the way last night’s game went in Sacto, the Marcus Camby and Kaman just became terrifying. Rebounding and post defense will be major issues tonight to keep an eye on. Nenad Krstic and Jeff Green have been OK this season, but this may the most formidable front court they’ve faced yet. I think we’ll have a good amount of Etan Thomas in our lives tonight.
Yet again though, OKC catches a break and plays a team without its best scorer, as Eric Gordon is out. Rasual Butler steps in and while a good player, takes away the Clips main slash and score option. Baron Davis can still get it done, but Gordon was really good at penetrating and kicking or just knocking down consistent jumpers. Russell Westbrook is a tough match for Davis too, because of the quickness, you see.
I feel like we could be headed for another big night from KD. Al Thornton is a hit-and-miss defender and can often get completely taken out of his game. And the Clipper bench doesn’t add much with Ricky Davis, Craig Smith and Bassy Telfair being the first guys off it. With James Harden returning to his hometown and his nice showing last night, I’d expect a solid game from him.
It’s all about rebounding and interior defense tonight. I think OKC should and will take this one, and I’d be horribly disappointed if it didn’t. I can forgive last night because the Kings are an improving club and the Thunder’s still figuring out how to be consistent on the road. But the Clips are hurting without Griffin and Gordon and they weren’t all that great to start with.
One thing I’m happy about is that Earl Watson is gone. Yeah, mainly because he was not good at basketball, but also because any time OKC played the Clips all you had to hear about it how Baron Davis and Watson are friends and then you had to watch them jostle and mess with each other the whole game. And when Watson is 2-8 from the floor with three turnovers, it kind of pisses you off.
Tip at 9:30 CST (ugh). Go fight win.