Oklahoma City (42-18) at L.A. Clippers (39-20)
When: Wednesday, March 2nd 2016
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
Time: 10:35 ET | TV: ESPN
The battle for the third-seed in the Western Conference heats up as the Los Angeles Clippers host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night. The Thunder rebounded from a devastating loss to Golden State on Saturday night by beating Sacramento 131-116 on Monday. Oklahoma had lost four of five before beating the Kings and are 2.5 games in front of the Clippers for third place in the West. All-Star forward Kevin Durant had 27 points, 10 rebounds and six assists in the victory over the Kings while Russell Westbrook collected his ninth triple-double of the season with 20 points, 15 boards, and 13 assists. Oklahoma City shot 57.3% from the field and made 14 three-pointers, while backup center Enes Kanter scored 23 points on 11-of-11 shooting. Durant, who has scored 20 or more points in each of his last 46 games, had 24 points on December 21st when the Thunder beat the Clippers 100-99. Backup SG Dion Waiters had 22 points against Sacramento for just his third 20-point outing of the season. The Thunder are playing the second of a four-game road trip that will take them to Golden State tomorrow night in the second of a brutal back-to-back.
The Clippers are back on track after losing three of five and have now won their last two over Sacramento and Brooklyn. They have a terrific chance to catch Oklahoma City for third place by playing them twice in the next seven days. Chris Paul scored 23 points and had 12 assists against the Nets for his fourth straight double-double and scored 32 in the December loss to the Thunder. Backup shooting guard Jamal Crawford poured in 26 points against the Nets and has ten 20-point outings in the past 14 games. J.J. Redick (16.6 points) scored 19 against the Nets and has scored above his average in six of his last eight games. The veteran from Duke is shooting a career-high 48.2% from beyond the arc and has hit 14 of his last 26 threes covering four games. DeAndre Jordan has cooled off in the score sheet, but he continues to be a rebounding machine. The second-leading rebounder in the league, Jordan has brought down at least eight rebounds in every game this season and is averaging 14.0. The Clippers will play Atlanta and Dallas before another rematch with Oklahoma City next week.
Oklahoma City is the better team, but they are just 9-18 against the spread away from home this year. The Clippers are starting to play better and I usually like the home team in this series.
Pick: Clippers -1