Time: 7:00 PM CST
TV: Fox Sports Oklahoma
Fresh off their first win of the 2018-19 season, the Oklahoma City Thunder (1-4) return to action tonight at Chesapeake Energy Arena — facing the visiting Los Angeles Clippers (4-2). The Thunder may again be forced to take the floor with a thin rotation, as Steven Adams (calf) and Nerlens Noel (ankle) are both questionable to play. In any case, OKC has an opportunity to knock off a balanced, high-powered Clippers team that comes in on a two-game winning streak (Houston, Washington) and is averaging the seventh-most points in the NBA at 116.5 per contest.
Tip-off is set for 7:00 PM CST and will be televised on Fox Sports Oklahoma. The Thunder are 2.5-point favorites according to Odds Shark.
- Steven Adams: Active — Calf
- Nerlens Noel: Active — Ankle
- Andre Roberson: Out — Knee
- Luc Mbah a Moute: Out — Knee
- Alexis Ajinca: Out — Knee
Clippers: Patrick Beverley, Avery Bradley, Tobias Harris, Danilo Gallinari, Marcin Gortat
Oct. 19: LAC 108, OKC 92 [BOX SCORE]
What to Watch For
Big Health. The Thunder enters tonight’s contest with a question mark at the center position. Steven Adams, who missed Sunday’s game due to calf soreness, carries a ‘Questionable’ designation, although he’s “likely to play” according to ESPN’s Royce Young. Nerlens Noel, who is coming off a monster performance, is also ‘Questionable’ after tweaking his ankle in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s win. Official word on their status will likely arrive after pre-game shootaround. Should one or both of them sit, expect heavier minutes for Jerami Grant and Patrick Patterson (who is coming off a 17-point performance against the Suns).
Last Time Out: The Clippers beat OKC 108-92 on October 19 in LA, as Danilo Gallinari and Tobias Harris combined to score 52 points in the win over a Russell Westbrook-less Thunder team. Having Westbrook is an obvious boost this time around, as he’s averaging 22.7 points, 12 rebounds, and 7.7 assists in his first three games. His match-up with Patrick Beverley will, as always, be extremely interesting to watch. Here’s to hoping Westbrook can improve upon the 9.1 percent he’s shooting from long distance so far this season. Beverley and Avery Bradley will certainly make him work for it — they are currently holding opposing starting guards to 33.5 percent shooting through six games.
Offensive Woes: Heading into tonight, the Thunder rank 27th in PPG (104.8), 30th in field goal percentage (41.2%), 30th in 3-point percentage (24.8), 29th in free throw percentage (65.3%), and 23rd in turnovers per game (15). Despite picking up the win against a Devin Booker-less Suns team on Sunday, there wasn’t a great deal of improvement on the offensive end (50-29-68 splits). If the Thunder offense goes cold yet again, the Clippers have all the firepower needed to push the Thunder to 1-5 on the season.
Clippers Bench. The Clippers have the highest-scoring bench in the NBA at 58.3 PPG — and their reserves dropped 85 points in a win over Houston over the weekend. Watch out for Lou Williams (as always), Montrezl Harrell (13.5 PPG), and Boban Marjonovic — who changed the course of the first Thunder/Clippers match-up with his size and rim protecting ability. He was a +24 in the second half on October 19 and was a big part of the 39-16 run that put the game away for the Clippers.
Hami Back: Hamidou Diallo sat out Sunday’s win over the Suns because he missed morning shootaround, but he figures to make his way back into the rotation tonight. He averaged 20.5 minutes per game in the two contests prior to Sunday, so it wouldn’t be shocking to see him step in and immediately see a decent amount of run.