Los Angeles Clippers (6-17) vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (2-23)
Tuesday, December 16
Oklahoma City, OK
TV: Fox Sports Oklahoma (Cox 37)
Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1 FM, 640 AM)
The last time these two titanics met, the both ships were sinking fast. But a month later, one has stuck a piece of chewing gum over the hole and the other just appears to have run into another iceberg. I think you can guess which one is which.
The Clippers have patched the hole by making a few moves. They got Zach Randolph from New York and he's been awesome recently (26.0 points per game, 10.5 rebounds per game since joining LA). Since acquiring Randolph, the Clips have gone 4-4 and strung together their first back-to-back wins of the season - and they were impressive wins too over Portland and Houston. So the message is: This isn't the same Clips that came to the Ford Center and whooped Oklahoma City a month ago, basically sending P.J. Carlesimo to the bus stop.
In the first meeting between the two squads, the Thunder rolled early but failed to close out the half. The Clippers came back and then blew the doors off OKC in the second. Chris Kamen was a large part of that but he won't be playing tonight. While that's obviously nice, Chris Wilcox or no Chris Wilcox (he's out for tonight), there's probably no way OKC slows down Randolph. The hope is that Los Angeles shoots poorly from the outside and conversely, the Thunder continues to hit jump shots. Because otherwise, hello No. 24.
This is a big game for Scott Brooks. While I think it's clear that the team is more competitive under Brooks, there hasn't been any improvement in the win-loss column. And that's kind of, you know, important. A loss tonight gives him a 1-12 record as head coach - the same record Carlesimo had to which he was shown the door. It has been 44 days since OKC has won at home and the Thunder has lost 10 straight there.
I'm not sure what to expect as far as a home crowd tonight as the weather is bad in OKC and the roads are a iced over. So there may only be 10,000 on hand tonight - but hey, maybe it'll feel like a road game and the Thunder has actually played better on the road than at home.
Forget playing well in the two games in Texas. Forget how well Jeff Green and Kevin Durant played. It's freaking time to win at home. It's no secret that OKC fans are getting very restless. It was obvious the team would struggle before the season, but there's no reason for this. The Clippers are playing as good as they have this year, but they're still beatable. But heck, I've said that before and OKC has choked one away. Russell Westbrook, Durant and Green must play well together and the supporting cast has to chip in. It's the only way. The Thunder has to play a complete game in every way. That's what its come to - a complete, great effort to beat a 6-17 team at home. But reality is real. And the reality is this team is no good and these fans desperately need a win.