Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Los Angeles Clippers Betting Predictions

Oklahoma City Thunder vs LA Clippers Regular Season NBA
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Los Angeles Clippers Betting Predictions

The Oklahoma City Thunder are still battling for playoff position while the Los Angeles Clippers are just trying to stay in form ahead of the NBA postseason. The nearly full-strength Clippers will need a game or two to help get everyone integrated again into the rotation, so they’ll take this game seriously and show their strength to the rest of the league.

Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Los Angeles Clippers Betting Odds

Even without two of their better players, the Los Angeles Clippers have impressed since the NBA restarted its season in Orlando. They’re only 3-2 in five games in the bubble, but the loss to the Lakers was a result of a poor first quarter in the opening game. The loss to the Suns was the only time the Clippers haven’t made at least 44 percent of their 3-point attempts.

Paul George and Kawhi Leonard have both scored at least 20 points in every game they’ve played, but the story is the role players who have found their stride again. In the last three games, Marcus Morris is averaging 15.7 points per game, and Ivica Zubac is averaging 16 points per game, which includes scoring 21 points on a perfect 10-for-10 night from the floor against Dallas last week. As a team, the Clippers shooting 51.1 percent from the floor in the last three games even with Leonard missing a game due to load management.

Lou Williams had his best game since returning to action on Saturday, chipping in 12 points in Los Angeles’ win over Portland. Landry Shamet had 19 points in that win and Reggie Jackson added 17 to offset not having Patrick Beverly on the floor due to a calf strain. The Clippers are a far more dangerous team if that duo can keep producing like that as Beverly works his way back from the injury.

The Thunder’s success in the bubble has been predicated on the opposite end of the floor from the Clippers. Oklahoma City is 2-2 in the bubble, and those results strongly correlate to how well it has played defense in Orlando. The two times Oklahoma City held an opponent to less than 40 percent shooting, it has won. In both of its losses, Oklahoma City has allowed the opposition to shoot 48 percent or better from the field.

Oklahoma City’s starters proved against the Lakers last week that they could score enough to win if the defense is clicking. But if the defense is just average, the Thunder will need better contributions from their bench, starting with Darius Bazley. Oklahoma City is 6-1 when Bazley hits double figures in points – the one setback coming against Memphis in the bubble – but the rookie has been very inconsistent. The Thunder will improve when Dennis Schroder returns to the rotation after leaving the bubble for the birth of his child, but it’s unlikely he’ll be back for this game.

With Williams back in the fold, Montrezl Harrell expected to join the team this week and Beverly likely returning this week, the Clippers will be back to full strength for the first time since the restart began. Los Angeles will probably still need to work out a few kinks in the rotation Friday, so they’ll take this game seriously enough to give Oklahoma City some problems.

If recent games have proven anything, it’s that the Clippers are back to being an offensive juggernaut, and a tough team to beat. Expect the Clippers to be slight favorites at the New Jersey online sports betting sites and expect them to live up to that billing as well against the Thunder.

My Prediction

Clippers

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Josh Walfish is an award-winning journalist who has been covering college and professional sports in the United States. He holds a journalism degree from Northwestern University and his work has appeared in the Miami Herald, Chicago Sun-Times and Providence Journal. He most recently chronicled the UMass hockey teams rise to prominence over the last two years for the local newspaper

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