LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS (8-4)
at OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER (7-3)
Tip-off: Thursday, 8:00 p.m. ET
Line: Oklahoma City -5, Total: 210
The Clippers play their second road game in two nights on Thursday when they visit the Thunder, who are playing the second game of a six-game homestand.
Los Angeles is coming off an impressive 102-98 victory at Minnesota on Wednesday night, marking its fifth win in the past six games (3-3 ATS). The Thunder most recently defeated the Nuggets, 115-113, on Monday night, but failed to cover the 9.5-point spread. Speaking of the spread, Oklahoma City has gone only 4-6 ATS on the season and is 1-3 ATS at home (4-0 SU). The Clippers are 3-3 SU (4-2 ATS) on the road this season, but are 18-12 ATS (10-20 SU) when visiting Oklahoma City since 1996. These two teams last met eight days ago on Nov. 13 with L.A. coming away with a 111-103 home victory and covering the 4.5-point spread. In the past three seasons, these two franchises have split the eight games that they have played both SU and ATS with the average total in the game being 200.9 PPG, leading to a 7-1 record for the Over. In the past two seasons, the Thunder are 32-14 ATS (70%) after have won two of their past three games, but Doc Rivers is 23-5 ATS (82%) in road games versus excellent free throw shooting teams (80%+ FT) in his coaching career, and Oklahoma City is currently shooting 82.2% from the charity stripe. Both teams will be healthy for this game with no key players out.
Will the Thunder get payback for last week's loss to the Clippers? For the answer, connect to The Platinum Sheet for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. StatFox Forecaster has been spot-on so far this season with a 57% ATS record (30-23-1) in featured games, while the five experts are a sizzling 69% ATS (24-11-1) on Best Bets since Nov. 12. During this timeframe, StatFox Gary is 6-1 ATS, StatFox Brian is 6-2 ATS, StatFox Dave is 4-2 ATS and StatFox Zach is 5-3 ATS. Both Brian and Dave are 56% ATS on NBA Best Bets for the season.
The Clippers once again scored 100+ points in their victory over the Timberwolves, marking the sixth straight game they have done so. They have netted 108.7 PPG this season (2nd in the NBA) thanks in part to their 47.9% shooting from the field (4th in league). As with many high-octane offenses, L.A. has allowed opponents to put up big numbers on offense as well, allowing 105.1 PPG (4th-most in NBA). PG Chris Paul (19.5 PPG, 12.5 APG, 5.3 RPG, 2.8 SPG) now holds the record for longest streak of double-doubles (points and assists) to start the season with 11, beating out Magic Johnsonís great start to the 1990-91 campaign. In Wednesday nightís victory over Minnesota, Paul dished out 11 assists and scored 16 of his 20 points in the final 5:07 minutes of the game to lead his team to victory. In the meeting with the Thunder earlier this season Paul did a little bit of everything, with 14 points, 16 assists, seven rebounds, three steals and a block. He has scored 18.0 PPG and 9.8 APG with 2.8 SPG in 27 career games against Oklahoma City. Just as Paul did, PF Blake Griffin (22.7 PPG, 10.8 RPG) torched the Thunder in their first meeting with 22 points, 12 rebounds (6 offensive), seven assists and three steals, but also committed five turnovers. In 12 games against Oklahoma City in his career, Griffin has scored 22.1 PPG (54.1% FG) and grabbed 10.2 RPG. C DeAndre Jordan (10.6 PPG, 13.3 RPG, 2.1 BPG) should be at the top of the list for Defensive Player of the Year when the season is over, but he has also improved his offense quite a bit, shooting 60.2% from the floor. Jordan scored 8.7 PPG with 7.0 RPG in three games against the Thunder last season, but was much more effective last week with 15 points and nine boards. Both SG J.J. Redick (16.5 PPG, 38% threes) and SG Jamal Crawford (15.8 PPG, 46% threes) have provided great range and depth for this offense.
The Thunder have scored 104.2 PPG this season (7th in league) despite a pedestrian 44.1% FG clip (16th in NBA). But they get to the line second most in the NBA with 29.8 FTA per game. The Oklahoma City defense has allowed 102.1 PPG to their opponents this season (23rd in NBA), but has managed to block 5.4 shots per game, which has helped produce a strong shooting defense of 43.6% FG (6th in league). SF Kevin Durant (29.6 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 5.2 APG) is once again the most prolific scorer in the NBA and scored his most points since opening night on Monday against the Nuggets with 38 points. Durant was amazing in three games against the Clippers last season (34.0 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 5.3 APG) and has scored 28.4 PPG (46.2% FG) with 7.7 RPG in 22 career meetings. He was the best player on the Thunder when these two teams squared off eight days ago, scoring 33 points with 10 assists and six boards in a losing effort. With 22.8 PPG, 5.3 RPG and 5.1 APG this season, PG Russell Westbrook is a force to be reckoned with. Just as Durant did, Westbrook had a double-double (19 points, 10 assists) when Oklahoma City lost to the Clippers on Nov. 13, and has scored 16.8 PPG with 6.1 APG in 19 career games (18 starts) against them. PF Serge Ibaka (14.0 PPG, 10.5 RPG, 2.1 BPG) had his least productive offensive game on Monday night (6 points in 31 minutes), but still helped the team with seven rebounds, three blocks and a season-high four assists. Ibaka scored 16.0 PPG (61.3% FG) and grabbed 8.0 RPG with six total blocks (2.0 BPG) in three games against L.A. last season, but had just two rebounds and no blocks in the Nov. 13 meeting before being ejected after a scuffle with Blake Griffin and Matt Barnes.