OKC Thunder (16-3, 8-2 road) at Los Angeles Clippers (11-6, 9-2 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 107.9 (2nd), Clippers– 106.8 (7th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 101.2 (11th), Clippers – 105.2 (25th)
Pace: Thunder – 93.0 (7th), Clippers – 91.0 (17th)
View from the enemy: Clipperblog
Lob City versus Thunder U. If you’re not pumped to watch this one, I think you need your fan card revoked. Oklahoma City has always had some issues winning in Staples against both tenants, but this one is going to be especially difficult because the Clippers aren’t just good. They’re really good. Having two All-Stars in the starting five tends to do that.
Tonight kicks off quite the run of games for OKC: Clippers, at Dallas, home versus Memphis, at San Antonio and at Portland. Then three more road games after that (Warriors, Kings, Jazz). This is one of the more difficult stretches the Thunder will have to endure, but it’s one at a time and it starts tonight against the Clippers.
Los Angeles coming in: The Clippers last played yesterday beating the Nuggets.
1. The matchups. Before the season, I went on record saying I thought the Clippers presented the Thunder with the most difficult set of matchups. Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook always have a major tussle, Blake Griffin is a load for anybody and DeAndre Jordan is like Tyson Chandler in the sense that Perk isn’t going to be able to run the floor or jump with him. OKC has one big edge as the Clips don’t have a good defender for KD, but this is one of the few times the Thunder don’t possess an obvious edge in matchups across the board.
2. Prepare for frustration. Between Blake Griffin and Chris Paul’s overreaction to fouls and dramatic falling, you’re bound to yell at your TV at least 75 times tonight. You’re going to be annoyed and frustrated. You know Perk and Griffin are going to tangle. You know it’s happening. Let’s just hope Serge Ibaka gets another one of these on Blake.
3. X-factors. I think this game might be decided by which X-factor player shows up biggest. Mo Williams has been fantastic scoring off the bench for the Clippers lately and the Thunder of course have James Harden. I can definitely see this being a battle between stars that comes down to which teams gets a little extra from somewhere. If Harden outscores Williams, I think OKC wins.
Tip at 9:30 CT. Go Sob City.