It’s the second time this season that the Thunder and Clippers will meet up. The Thunder won the first meeting 117-111 in overtime on Nov. 21 in Oklahoma City.
Kevin Durant had 35 points in that game and Russell Westbrook had 23 points. Kevin Martin was big off the bench going for 20 and Hasheem Thabeet also added 10 points.
Chris Paul had just nine points and nine assists for the Clippers on 2-of-14 shooting. Blake Griffin led the way with 23 and Jamal Crawford had 20 off the bench.
The Thunder and Clippers are both top five offenses and defenses in the league this season. In this particular matchup against each other, it is very even as well.
The Clippers generate most of their offense from the pick-and-roll but the Thunder have the top defense in the league against the pick-and-roll.
The Clippers have turned up the tempo this season and are 9th in the NBA scoring in transition but would still probably be better off in a slowed down game against the Thunder.
The Thunder have the best offense in the league and their stars, Durant and Westbrook, have been playing at a very high level lately. Durant has been named the Western Conference Player of the Week in each of the last two weeks and the Clippers don’t really have anyone who can match up with him.
Durant has shot 21 free throws in each of the last two games and made all but one of them. Durant also attempted 21 free throws in the first meeting against the Clippers this season so expect to see a lot of his shoulder shimmy charity trips tonight.
Westbrook traditionally plays poor when matched up against Paul and on the road tonight will be one of the biggest challenges all year for him. The Thunder played Thabo Sefolosha on Paul for much of the first meeting and it obviously worked well. We will see if Paul can figure Sefolosha out at home tonight.
The real strength of the Clippers this season has been their depth. They have a number of players that can step up on any given night and at home, that chance is always greater.
Great teams always win at home and the challenge for the Thunder tonight is making the Clippers not look so great.
The Thunder have lost two games in a row just once this season. They are coming off overtime games in each of their last two games which have also been on the road.
The odds are usually in the favor of the Thunder but tonight they may not be.