This also counts as an open thread, so feel free to post your thoughts during the game here.
Time: 6:00 PM Central Standard Time
Place: The Ford Center, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
TV: Fox Sports Oklahoma, Fox Sports Net Prime Ticket
Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1)
Enemy Blog(s): Clips Nation, ClipperBlog
Backstory: We're almost an eighth of the way there, and things are looking good!
Since we've last seen the Clippers, they've lost to Toronto in an embarrassing fashion. Now they're on a 3 game losing streak, and seeing how badly they've played lately, I really , really doubt the Thunder have much of a chance of losing this one. Nobody has come back from injury, Russell Westbrook (our worst performer of last time) has beaten Tony Parker in a fierce battle, and it's in our house this time.
Below: Matchups, Prediction
Center: Nenad Krstic vs. Chris Kaman
Last time, Chris Kaman had a better game overall than Krstic, but he was much less efficient. I mean, 9-26 shooting is pretty unacceptable for a center by my standards. I'll say that the same goes for this game, with Kaman scoring more points and grabbing more rebounds, but with Nenad Krstic doing less with less minutes and less opportunities.
Power Forward: Jeff Green vs. Marcus Camby
This will be a defensive battle, for sure. Last game, neither of them was able to score on a consistent basis, and Camby won the battle of the intangibles. If Green wants to win this game, he's going to have to get a 3 point shot going.
Small Forward: Kevin Durant vs. Al Thornton
Al Thornton is probably the most efficient Clippers player, but I doubt he'll have a better performance than Kevin Durant. Expect him to get roughly half of KDs numbers.
Shooting Guard: Thabo Sefolosha vs. Rasual Butler
Thabo Sefolosha had a horrible night last time, but at least Rasual Butler was able to rebound the ball for his team. I'd like to think that Sefolosha will do better this time, but there's no big scoring threat for him to stop, so I think we might even be better off starting James Harden at this point. Rasual Butler will outperform him by a bit.
Point Guard: Russell Westbrook vs. Baron Davis
This is the matchup I want to see again. Last time, Westbrook got injured, and Baron Davis outperformed him in every single way. But, Russell Westbrook had a great game against Tony Parker, doesn't seem any worse for the wear, and probably wants to show his stuff against this Clipper team. I'll give Baron Davis the win, but I still truly hope that Westbrook can rebound from his bad performance last time.
Battle of the Benches
Last time, the only players who mattered on the bench were James Harden and Kevin Ollie. I wouldn't expect that to change for us, as Collison and Thomas aren't huge game changers, but I'd expect more out of Craig Smith and Sebastian Telfair on the Clippers side of things. Smith is a nice inside scorer and rebounder, while Telfair can distribute just as well as Baron Davis can.
Coaching and Intangibles
The Thunder are on a two game winning streak, have beaten this team before at home, and are at home themselves. The Clippers are without two of their best players, on the road, have lost 3 straight, and have only beaten the lowly Timberwolves, Warriors, and Grizzlies. I'd say the intangibles are in our favor.
If the Thunder can get solid production from the guards, make sure that guys like Chris Kaman, Marcus Camby, and Craig Smith don't have productive games inside, and drop a few threes, then they can win this game. It may sound like a lot, but it's no herculean task. Again, these are the Clippers we're talking about.
Prediction: Thunder 95, Clippers 90
6-4? Like Kevin Garnett, anything is possible!
How do you think the game will go? Vote in the Poll!
And, again, feel free to drop any comments you might have during, before, or after the game below. I'll be in the Ford Center cheering the team on, but I'll be back to write a recap later tonight. Go Thunder!