OKC Thunder (44-16, 19-10 road) at Los Angeles Clippers (37-23, 22-9 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 110.0 (1st), Clippers– 108.4 (3rd)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 102.9 (10th), Clippers – 105.5 (18th)
Pace: Thunder – 93.1 (6th), Clippers – 89.2 (28th)
View from the enemy: ClipperBlog
It’s obvious what the hook is for this game. So let me club you over the head with it anyway. The Thunder can’t be happy with the way they seemingly gave away a home game to the Clippers last week. Oklahoma City had multiple chances to put the Clippers away, but never seemed able to completely locate the killshot. Which left the door open for Chris Paul to tear out some hearts.
The Thunder have six games remaining, with this game in L.A. the second of a five-game road trip. Time is running out for the top seed and a loss here will certainly hurt. It would be difficult to finish 6-0 in this final stretch of games, but there is a need to play well. Momentum into the postseason is important and the final days of the regular season are upon us.
The Clippers coming in: They last played Saturday, handling the tanking Warriors.
Three Big Things
1. Judge, jury, execute. The Clippers are not a very good defensive team, but the Thunder certainly made them look like one in the last meeting. OKC missed jumpers, threw way good looks and didn’t execute well in the closing eight minutes of the game. The Thunder have more talent, have more playmakers and have a deeper roster. If the execution is there, OKC should win.
2. Assuming defense. That’s assuming OKC shows up on the other end. The Wolves game wasn’t a good look defensively, but other than that, the Thunder have been fairly consistent on the defense end the last month. The Clippers aren’t really a complicated team to defend. It’s essentially a cut-off-the-head-of-the-snake type of thing. Limit Chris Paul and don’t allow easy baskets in transition and it basically comes down to contesting shows and defending the pick-and-roll. Unless the Clipper shooters get hot, they aren’t that dynamic of an offense.
3. Shoot better. Pretty simple, but the Thunder lost to the Clippers five two last time despite Durant and Westbrook shooting a combined 10-of-35. Make some shots, you guys.
Tip at 9:30. Go Red Bull.