Game Recaps

Game Day #59: at Clippers

Game Day #59: at Clippers

Oklahoma City Thunder (42-17, 16-12 away) at Los Angeles Clippers (43-18, 23-6 home)

ThunderBadgeAT ClippersBadge

Where: The Staples Center – Los Angeles, CA
When: 2:30 pm
 ABC (5 DirecTV, 8 Cox, 5 AT&T U-Verse, 5 Dish)
Online StreamHere.
RadioWWLS Sports Animal 98.1 FM/640AM/97.1 Tulsa
View from the enemyHere.
Line: Clippers favored by 2.5. O/U – 204.5
Official Game NotesHere.
Projected Lineups:

Thunder Clippers
PG: Russell Westbrook  Chris Paul
SG: Thabo Sefolosha  Chauncey Billups
SF: Kevin Durant  Caron Butler
PF: Serge Ibaka  Blake Griffin
C: Kendrick Perkins  DeAndre Jordan
6th: Kevin Martin  Jordan Crawford

Last Time: Oklahoma City  decided it was time to beat a Chris Paul-less Clippers team back on January 22nd, 109-97 in Los Angeles. Serge Ibaka, before fouling out, was really dominate with 17 points and 9 rebounds for the Thunder. It was the Thunder’s second win over the Clippers this season.

In a day game, where Oklahoma City has struggled in the past, the Los Angeles Clippers and the Oklahoma City Thunder are set to due battle this afternoon. While Oklahoma City is just 6-4 in their last 10 games, the Clippers are hot, winners of four in a row and eight of their last 10.

Oklahoma City though, is coming off the very frustrating loss to the Denver Nuggets, 105-103. Oklahoma City jumped on the Nuggets early, but Denver turned around a sloppy first quarter by basically leading for the entire game. Oklahoma City trailed by as many as 11 in the second half, but finally made a run late in the fourth quarter.

Oklahoma City tied the game up four times in the final three minutes, but it was to no avail. After a timeout, Durant’s bank shot tied it at 103 and Denver called a timeout with 17.6 seconds remaining. Ty Lawson then drilled a shot in front of Thabo Sefolosha with 0.2 seconds left, giving the Nuggets the win.

The Clippers, coming off a 105-89 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. Jordan Crawfod dropped 24 points for the Clippers, The first quarter was huge for Los Angeles, as they jumped up seven points after the first frame, leading by as many as 23 in the game. For the Clippers, it was their fourth straight win, and their eighth in their last 10 games.

Tonight is going to be very tough for the Thunder. Los Angeles is a mean 23-6 at home this season. The Clippers haven’t been exactly “hot” at home. They’re just 5-3 in their last 8 home games. The Clippers thrive off their defense, which are allowing just 93.8 points per game, that’s the fourth best in the league. Then they turn right around and drop points on you. they’re a top 10 team in the league in scoring, at 100.5 ppg.

They’re the fourth best field goal shooting team, which means they can really just shoot the ball with efficiency. They’re averaging 94.15 possessions per game, and getting off 80 shots in those possessions, that’s solid for fourth in the league. They’re average on three-point shooting, but at home they’re a top 10 team, shooting it 37.6 percent.

Defensively, Los Angeles is one of the worst teams at defending the perimeter. They’re allowing teams to shoot 37 percent from the three-point line.

Oklahoma City and the Clippers are meeting for the 18th time since the Thunder moved from Seattle. Oklahoma City trails in the series 9-8. Oklahoma city has won two straight games over the Clippers, including the last game here in Los Angeles.  Overall, they’ve played a 191 games in the series. Oklahoma City owns the overall series 123-68.

It doesn’t happen very often, but for the first time in awhile, both teams are actually very healthy. This could be a playoff atmosphere and both wil need everyone.

Keys to the Game

Three-Point Shooting
In their last win over the Clippers, Oklahoma City shot almost 55.6 percent from deep. It was instrumental in the overtime win. The Thunder are the second best in the league at shooting from deep. Clippers are middle of the road in three-point defense. Oklahoma City needs to take advantage of that. Oklahoma City is shooting 52 percent from deep against LA this year.

Pick-n-Roll Defense
Chris Paul’s ability to play the pick-n-roll is something special. He’s routinely killed teams, including Oklahoma City, on the PnR. Oklahoma City did a decent job in defending it in the last battle between these two teams. For someone who is so superior at running the PnR, He shoots 45.4 percent off the PnR (95-206). Yet, earlier in the season against Oklahoma City, Paul was abysmal 1-of-5 off the PnR. They need to continue their solid defense on the PnR.

Bench scoring
This is another REALLY good bench team here. The league’s best bench scoring team here, with the Los Angeles Clippers. Their bench is averaging 40.6 ppg. Oklahoma City’s? Just a remedial 29.8ppg, There is an 11 point difference, might not seem like a lot. Just means their bench can score more than 40, and ours typically keeps it under 25. Must get contributions from the bench tonight. Looking at you Kevin Martin.

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