Preview 66 of 82: Thunder @ Clippers
Time: 9:30 PM CST
TV: Fox Sports Oklahoma
Game Notes: Thunder / Clippers
The Oklahoma City Thunder (40-25) get right back to it tonight in Los Angeles, taking on the Clippers (37-29) in yet another game loaded with playoff implications. Less than 24 hours after beating the Blazers in a contentious overtime thriller, OKC faces a Clippers squad that has won four of five and currently eighth in the Western Conference.
The Thunder currently lead the season series against LAC by a 2-1 margin, but will have to overcome the fatigue of a back-to-back in order to get a win at Staples Center. The Clippers are 18-12 at home this season, which includes a 16-point win over the Russell Westbrook-less Thunder in the second game of the 2018-19 campaign.
Tip-off is at 9:30 PM CST and will be televised on Fox Sports Oklahoma. The Thunder are 2.5-point road underdogs according to Odds Shark
- Andre Roberson: Out — Knee
- Wilson Chandler: Questionable — Quad
- Luc Mbah a Moute: Out — Knee
Clippers: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Patrick Beverley, Landry Shamet, Danilo Gallinari, Ivica Zubac
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What to Watch For
Fighting Fatigue. Though back-to-backs are never easy, the Thunder will take the floor tonight less than 24 hours after escaping Portland with an overtime victory. Paul George logged 43 minutes last night, Russell Westbrook saw 40 minutes, and Steven Adams was on the floor for 39 minutes. The Clippers, on the other hand, have been off since Monday night’s win over the Lakers, so they’ll be fresh and certainly at an advantage when it comes to fresh legs. The last time the Thunder went to overtime on the front end of a back-to-back (Feb. 22 vs Utah), they came out flat the next day and lost to the Kings at home.
Russ & PG. Westbrook and George were elite last night against the Blazers, combing for 69 points, 21 rebounds, and nine assists in the overtime win. Westbrook was particularly electric, dropping 39 points on 14-of-28 shooting and a 5-of-8 clip from downtown — and since he’s a tireless robot, hopefully that’s a sign of positive things for this evening. George struggled shooting the ball (7/23 FG, 1/9 3P) last night, and is hitting just 31 percent of his shots (21.7% 3P) in the two games since returning from shoulder soreness. Though he crammed the stat sheet in Portland with 14 rebounds, six assists, and three steals, he’ll look to find some rhythm back home in Los Angeles.
Defending the Clippers. Lou Williams leads the Clippers in scoring at 19.8 PPG, followed by Danilo Gallinari’s 18.9 PPG, and Montrezel Harrell’s 16.2 PPG. Newcomer Landry Shamet (who was acquired from Philly in the Tobias Harris trade) is putting up 12.4 PPG in the 10 games since landing in LA, and rookie Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is averaging an even 10 PPG to round out LA’s double-digit scorers. LAC is eighth in paint scoring (50.6 PPG), 16th in second-chance points (13.2 PPG), 14th in fast break scoring (13 PPG), and second in 3-point shooting at a blistering 38.3 percent as a team.
Not Him Again. Patrick Beverley will start at shooting guard for the Clippers, so hide your kids, hide your wife, bubble wrap your knees, and pray Russ doesn’t get ejected for trying to give Beverley a tombstone pile driver. Those two are almost guaranteed to agitate one another to no end, and Westbrook is already feeling feisty after a vintage emotional performance last night in Portland. Powder keg.