Oklahoma City (3-0) at LA Clippers (3-0)
When: Wednesday, November 2nd 2016
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
Time: 10:35 ET | TV: ESPN
Two of the remaining three undefeated teams in the Western Conference entering Tuesday’s action will meet Wednesday night at the Staples Center as the LA Clippers host the Oklahoma City Thunder. Russell Westbrook has embraced the leadership he now owns with the Thunder after Kevin Durant left for Golden State by averaging a triple-double through three games. He became the first player since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to score at least 51 points in a triple-double in a win over Phoenix on Friday and followed it up by turning in 33 points, 16 assists and 12 rebounds in a 113-96 home him over the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday. Oklahoma City made a couple of front-office moves on Monday to ensure that Westbrook would have some familiar teammates to grow with in the coming years by locking guard Victor Oladipo into a four-year, $84 million pact and signing center Steven Adams to a four-year, $100 million extension. Oladipo was acquired in a trade with the Orlando Magic over the summer and is averaging 17 points while starting alongside Westbrook in the backcourt. Adams is averaging 13 points and nine rebounds in the first three games.
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The Clippers are also off to a 3-0 start behind a defense that is ranked fourth in the league in scoring (93.0). L.A. held the Utah Jazz to just 75 points on Sunday in the 88-75 victory and limited Phoenix to just 36 first half points the next night. The Clippers have six players averaging double-figures in scoring including Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, Jamal Crawford and J.J. Redick. Griffin is averaging 22.0 points and 11.3 rebounds a game, while Paul is the team-leader in assists (7.3). Center DeAndre Jordan is fighting through a thumb injury suffered Sunday but recorded 19 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks with the thumb wrapped on Monday. The Clippers will take the road for back-to-back games later this week with Memphis and San Antonio before returning home for a pair.
The Clippers have the better team, but Oklahoma City has the best player in the NBA not named LeBron. Anytime you can get points with the Thunder, you have to take it. Westbrook also has a better supporting cast than most people think.
Pick: Thunder +7