Tip-Off: 9:30 PM CST
Location: Staples Center (Los Angeles, California)
Television: ESPN, FSOK
Radio: The Sports Animal
Twitter: Follow @TheThunderGuys for live-tweets during the game
Opposing Player to Watch
PF Blake Griffin: The Clippers are a talented team with multiple stars, but the key player to watch on this LA squad is definitely Blake Griffin. Griffin was born and raised in Oklahoma, and he played for the Oklahoma Sooners in college, so a lot of Oklahomans are hoping that he finds his way home next summer when he enters free agency. So far this season, Griffin is averaging a double-double with 22 points and 11.3 rebounds per game, as well as 2.7 assists and 1.3 steals per game.
Keys to the Game
- Control Tempo: Oklahoma City leads the league in transition points with 24.7 per game, while Los Angeles ranks eleventh with 14.3. Coach Billy Donovan has made it very clear that he wants the Thunder to run a high-paced offense, and so far, the team has been successful. If Oklahoma City can control this aspect of the game, it should not be hard to put up some points.
- Stop Lob City: So far this season, the Clippers rank 29th in the league in assists with only 16.7 a game. Many of their assists come on alley-oop lobs from Chris Paul to Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, etc. These types of plays are not just dangerous because they are easy points for Los Angeles, but when you are the visiting team in Staples Center and one of the Clippers’ big men throws down a monster dunk off a slick pass from Chris Paul, the atmosphere is electric. The Thunder is young, and they simply cannot allow very many of these plays to happen, lest inexperienced players get rattled and falter in the game.
- Avoid Turnovers: The issue of turning the ball over could be a topic of discussion for potentially any Thunder matchup, but it is especially important to focus on when playing top-tier teams in the league. Mistakes have to be limited, and so far this season, Oklahoma City is 29th in the league with 17.3 turnovers per game, while the Clippers are 4th with only 12.3 per game. The turnover battle is a key stat in a clash of teams in the upper echelon of the league, and the Thunder needs drastic improvement as soon as possible.
Article written by Zack Low. Follow @TheThunderGuys on Twitter.