OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER (42-16)
at LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS (43-18)
Tip-off: Sunday, 3:30 p.m. ET
Line: Los Angeles -2.5, Total: 204.5
The Thunder look to snap a long road losing skid when they visit the red-hot Clippers on Sunday afternoon.
Oklahoma City leads the NBA in scoring (106.7 PPG), but has struggled on the road recently, going 3-7 (SU and ATS) in its past 10 away games, including three straight defeats where the team has allowed 112.0 PPG to these hosts. The Clippers have won eight of their past nine contests (7-2 ATS), including four in a row (SU and ATS), where they have held their opponents to a mere 89.5 PPG on 42% FG and 29% threes. Although these teams have split their past 12 meetings 6-6 SU, the Thunder have won both matchups this season, prevailing 117-111 in overtime at home on Nov. 21, and then winning more comfortably, 109-97, in L.A. on Jan. 22.
Which Western Conference power will emerge victorious on Sunday? For the answer, connect to NBA Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. StatFox Scott is still on fire, going 30-12 ATS (71%) on NBA Best Bets since Feb. 3, and improving his season record to an impressive 58% ATS (100-73-1). StatFox Gary is a red-hot 11-3 ATS (79%) since Feb. 20, and was 63% ATS (17-10) for February. The experts finished February with a collective 58.1% ATS (93-67) record, and started off March with a 55% ATS mark (6-5). StatFox Brian is 3-1 ATS in his past three days and 55% ATS (11-9) since the All-Star break. For NBA Totals, Scott is 6-2-1 (75%) in the past nine days to raise his season mark to 57% (82-63-1) in Totals.
Oklahoma City is an excellent shooting team, making 48.3% FG, 39.2% threes and an NBA-leading 83.3% free throws. The Thunder are also strong defensively, allowing just 97.2 PPG on 42.9% FG and 35.1% threes. SF Kevin Durant (28.5 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 4.6 APG) has posted two triple-doubles in his past five games, averaging 21.0 PPG, 12.0 RPG and 7.4 APG during this span. In Friday's loss to Denver, he had 25 points, 14 rebounds, three blocks and two steals. Durant has also played extremely well against L.A. this season with 33.5 PPG (50% FG), 6.5 RPG and 6.0 APG in the two victories. PG Russell Westbrook (23.3 PPG, 7.8 APG, 5.2 RPG) has also exploded on the Clippers for 24.5 PPG and 7.5 APG this season. Westbrook has scored at least 20 points in eight straight games, averaging 28.4 PPG on 50.3% FG (13-of-23 threes) to go along with 6.1 APG. SG Kevin Martin (14.6 PPG) usually provides healthy scoring off the bench, but has struggled with four single-digit scoring outputs in the past seven games, tallying just 10.1 PPG over this span. Martin has played well against L.A. though, scoring 16.5 PPG on 53% shooting. PF Serge Ibaka (13.6 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 3.0 BPG) has averaged a double-double in the season series with the Clips, posting 16.0 PPG (55% FG) and 10.5 RPG despite fouling out of both meetings.
The Clippers are a team without a real weakness, averaging 100.5 PPG, and allowing just 93.8 PPG this season. They love to share the basketball with 23.4 APG, and lead the NBA with 9.92 steals per game. And despite playing Friday in Cleveland, they should be well-rested for this matinee as only one player logged 30+ minutes in the 105-89 lopsided win at Cleveland. PG Chris Paul (16.2 PPG, 9.6 APG) saw the most action with 33 minutes, tallying an impressive 15 assists and zero turnovers to go along with 11 points and a +19 rating. Paul leads the NBA in both Ast/TO ratio (4.42) and steals (2.43 per game), but he played a terrible game in his lone meeting with Oklahoma City this season, making just 2-of-14 shots and committing four turnovers. However, Paul was able to keep his team in the game with nine assists, five rebounds and four steals. PF Blake Griffin (18.5 PPG, 8.7 RPG) has had no problem scoring on the Thunder this season with 27.0 PPG (57% FG), 8.5 RPG and 2.5 SPG in the two victories. Griffin has also been red-hot during his team's four-game win streak with 19.0 PPG on 67% FG, plus 10.5 RPG. SG Jamal Crawford (17.0 PPG) has also shot well since his one-game absence to deal with a personal matter. In two games since returning, he has 23.5 PPG on 57% FG (4-of-7 threes). Crawford has shot poorly versus Oklahoma City though, making just 36% of his shots, but has still managed to score 17.0 PPG in the two meetings. C DeAndre Jordan (8.9 PPG, 7.1 RPG) played only 10 minutes at Indiana on Thursday due to a bloody nose, but he showed no ill effects in Friday's win with 10 points (5-of-6 FG) and five rebounds in just 20 minutes of action. He's also been very efficient against the Thunder this season with 9.5 PPG (60% FG) and 8.0 RPG.