NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, November 13th (All times Eastern)
Oklahoma City Thunder (5-1) at Los Angeles Clippers (5-3), 10:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - Two heavy favorites for Western Conference champion jump it up Wednesday night when the Oklahoma City Thunder battle the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center.
The Thunder have won four straight and are 2-1 on the road this season. Oklahoma City is also a perfect 4-0 since Russell Westbrook returned to the lineup early on Nov. 3.
On Sunday, the Washington Wizards gave the Thunder all they could handle, but OKC emerged with a 106-105 overtime win.
"That was definitely a resilient win," head coach Scott Brooks said. "It was that never-quit mentality that we've always believed in and that's what happened tonight. We just battled and battled and battled and gave ourselves a chance to win down the stretch."
Kevin Durant put the game into overtime and finished with 33 points, 13 rebound and six assists. Westbrook only managed 13 points and Reggie Jackson came off the bench with 12 points.
Perhaps the biggest reason the Thunder came out successful was Serge Ibaka. The defensive force had 25 points, 12 rebounds and three blocked shots in almost 46 minutes of action.
"I was just focused on being aggressive," Ibaka said. "The last two weeks I had some tough games because I was being aggressive but nothing was working. I work every day so I keep being aggressive, and tonight was the night."
The Thunder will visit the Golden State Warriors on Thursday, then close the trip in Milwaukee on Saturday night.
The Clippers have won two in a row after back-to-back losses in the state of Florida last week. They have a tough home stand remaining with the Brooklyn Nets and Memphis Grizzlies on the slate.
The Clips returned to the Staples Center Monday with a gritty 109-107 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
L.A. was led by Blake Griffin's 25 points and 10 rebounds. Chris Paul had 21 points and 11 assists as he became the first player to open a season with eight straight double-doubles since John Stockton did it to kick off the 1991-92 campaign.
DeAndre Jordan also managed a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds and Jamal Crawford scored 17 points off the bench.
Los Angeles leads the NBA in scoring at an impressive 109.9 ppg clip. Defensively, they are 28th in opponents' scoring at 106.4 ppg.
"I think offensively we've done well," Griffin said after practice on Tuesday. "We've scored when we've needed to. It's still the defensive thing, getting stops when we need to get stops. I don't think we really have (an identity) yet."
The Thunder swept all three meetings last season and the two teams have split the last 14 meetings in Los Angeles.
11/13 10:50:55 ET