The NBA is set up with a solid night of action on Tuesday night. Eight games will be up on the board throughout March 3. One of these matchups should be a really good one between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Oklahoma City Thunder. These two teams are in the middle of a tight Western Conference playoff race. This game will tip off at around 8:00 PM Eastern.
Los Angeles has a record of 41-19 throughout this season, which has them tied for second place in the Western Conference with the Denver Nuggets. The Clippers are five and a half games back on the Los Angeles Lakers and have a two game lead on the Houston Rockets. Los Angeles has won four games in a row coming into this one and will look to keep that streak alive with a win on the road.
The Thunder have posted a record of 37-23 to this point in the season. Oklahoma City is currently in sixth place of the Western Conference. The Thunder are one game behind the Utah Jazz, who are in fifth of the West. Oklahoma City is only four games back from the second seed, which is very much in reach. The Thunder lost their last game, which ended a five game winning streak.
These two teams are in the middle of the Western Conference playoff race, where four and a half games separate the second seed from the seventh seed. This is a big game for both of these teams, which should lead to an exciting matchup right out of the gates. I expect both teams to try and control the pace to get a win on Tuesday night.
The first meeting of the season series was on November 18 in Los Angeles. Chris Paul dropped 22 points for the Thunder, but it was not enough. Montrezl Harrell had a huge game off the bench, dropping 28 points and 12 rebounds. Paul George put up 18 points against his previous team as he helped lead the Clippers to a close 90-88 win at home.
The second game of the season series shifted back to Oklahoma City on December 22. Lou Williams earned 22 points, while Paul George had another 18 point night. Montrezl Harrell put up 18 off the bench, but it was not enough. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander earned 32 points for the Thunder. Dennis Schroder put up another 28 off the bench, while Steven Adams had 20 points and 17 rebounds. Oklahoma City was able to even up the season series with a 118-112 win at home.
These two teams have already met up twice this season with each team earning a win. This game will stay in Oklahoma City, where the Thunder were able to win a couple months ago. Both teams are pretty healthy coming into this game, which should lead to a great game. George will be a big player to watch as he plays his old team for the third time this season.
Field Goal Shooting
The Clippers have been a solid field goal shooting team this season. Los Angeles has made around 46.5 percent of their shots, which is tenth in the NBA. The Clippers have also made around 36.9 percent of their shots from deep, which is ninth in the league. Los Angeles has made 52 percent of their shots inside the arc, which is around middle of the league.
Oklahoma City has been really strong shooting throughout this season. The Thunder have drained 47.2 percent of their shots from the field, which is fifth in the NBA. Oklahoma City’s three point shooting has not been spectacular, only making around 35.3 percent of their shots from behind the arc. The Thunder have made 53.5 percent of their shots in close though, which is also fifth in the league.
These two teams have found success when shooting this season. Oklahoma City has the better shooting percentage overall, but the Clippers defense has been better this season. If Los Angeles can slow the Thunder down from the field, I think it will give the Clippers a good chance to run away with the game late. Los Angeles will try and force Oklahoma City to shoot from deep to mess up their game.
Kawhi Leonard has helped lead the Clippers throughout this season. Leonard has averaged 27 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. Paul George is averaging around 21 points per game. Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell have done well off the bench. Williams is averaging 19 points per game, while Harrell has averaged 18.5 points per game. Marcus Morris and Landry Shamet are both averaging around 10.5 points per game.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Danilo Gallinari have both had strong seasons so far. Gilgeous-Alexander and Gallinari have both averaged around 19.5 points per game this season. Dennis Schroder has done well coming off the bench, averaging 19 points per game. Chris Paul has averaged 17.5 points per game, while Steven Adams is averaging 11 points and 9.5 rebounds per game.
This game has George, Gilgeous-Alexander and Gallinari all playing their former teams. Watch these three players to try and break out for a big game. Both of these teams have had solid production off the bench as well, so look for that to play a role on Tuesday night as well. I like the way Los Angeles matches up in this game though, which could give them the edge on the road.
These two teams have split the first two games of the season series, but I believe that the Clippers will take the lead in the season series on Tuesday night. Los Angeles has had a slightly better season. The Clippers have also been better defensively, which could help them earn the win. Gallinari could also miss this game, which would really hurt the Thunder’s chances.
BetOnline has Los Angeles listed as a -3 against the spread in this game. This gives a slight edge to the Clippers on Tuesday night on the road. I agree with this spread since Los Angeles is coming into this game higher up in the standings and on a four game winning streak. I think the Clippers have a good chance to win this one against the spread.