The LA Clippers have caught fire as of late, winning four straight contests and looking for a fifth straight against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday.
As far as streaks go, the LA Clippers may be on their best of the season thus far. Their roster has finally hit a fully healthy mark and asserted dominance on both sides of the floor coming out of the All-Star break.
The LA Clippers are 4-1 since the All-Star break with impressive wins over Memphis, Denver, Phoenix, and Philadelphia.
Their success has seemed to come off of the heels of superstar forward Kawhi Leonard who is averaging 25.8 PPG out of the break and propelling the Clippers to offensive consistency which has led to the defense finally catching fire at the perfect time.
Paul George has also been huge for the Clippers’ success as of late. He seems to be nearing a point of overcoming the setback of injuries he has dealt with all season including his offseason shoulder surgery.
As for the matchup tonight, the LA Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder are both comfortably in the playoffs race in the Western Conference. Tonight’s matchup could be a sneak peek at a first-round playoff matchup between the two sides who have split their season series at a game apiece thus far.
The Thunder’s success has been made in large part to the stellar play of former Clippers’ point guards Chris Paul and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Paul made the All-Star game and Alexander has taken a step up in his sophomore season after an impressive rookie season with the LA Clippers.
This will likely be the first contest between the two sides that includes Leonard, who missed both prior contests due to load management. With the Thunder coming off of their worst loss in franchise history on Sunday to the Milwaukee Bucks, the Clippers can expect a hungry Thunder squad at home as they are 20-12 record inside Chesapeake Arena.
The keys for the Clippers to win this game are pretty clear cut. Leonard needs to continue to remain to be the team’s number one scoring option and do so efficiently. Meanwhile, slowing down Danilo Gallinari and limiting the Thunder’s options offensively will go a long way as well.
Paul George will be the key in this contest though. If Leonard is having an off night, the Clippers know and should expect to be able to lean on George for his scoring ability. They will also be expecting the amazing bench production they’ve received from Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell.
Efficiency will speak louder than anything in this contest. If the Clippers can shoot the basketball efficiently and limit the Thunder’s chances of fast-breaks, they should run away with this contest. However, the Clippers do struggle away from Staples Center, winning only 16 of their 29 road games.
The LA Clippers will look to take a 2-1 regular-season series lead against the Thunder and their fifth straight victory at 5:00 pm PT in Oklahoma City.