|Time||10:30 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
The Oklahoma City Thunder, looking to further climb the ranks in the Western Conference, will face off against the Los Angeles Clippers for the second time this week.
Oklahoma City is one of the hottest teams in the NBA and has won eight of its past 10 games. The Thunder now find themselves as the No. 7, one spot away from solidifying themselves as a playoff team.
The Clippers, on the other hand, have just been hanging around for the past few weeks and a few injuries could jeopardize their chance to be a top six team in the West.
The Thunder are a perfect 3-0 against the Clippers this season, but will Oklahoma City be able to win this battle and get the season sweep?
The Oklahoma City Thunder are on a roll right now and it could not come at a better time.
Oklahoma City is just a half game back of the No. 6 seed, which is needed to avoid the play-in tournament. Grabbing that spot is certainly a possibility with just 10 games left in the regular season, especially when considering how well this team has played over the past 10 games.
The Thunder are 8-2 in their past 10 and tied with Philadelphia for the best record in the NBA over that span. What has really set Oklahoma City apart has been its play on the defensive end of the floor, as evidenced by a 110.0 Defensive Rating.
That defense was on full display against Los Angeles on Tuesday night. The Clippers struggled from behind the arc in that matchup and shot just 19% from 3 on their way to scoring exactly 100 points.
The Thunder defense has been tough to crack in March, making Oklahoma City a legitimate threat down the stretch.
The Los Angeles Clippers are in playoff position, but their recent play is cause for concern as the regular season comes to an end.
According to NBA.com, Los Angeles has posted a 0.7 Net Rating across the past 10 games. That comes from a 113.5 Offensive Rating and a 112.8 Defensive Rating, showing the Clippers have not had a significant advantage over their opponents on either end of the floor.
Part of the blame can be placed on injuries to Norman Powell and Kawhi Leonard, but they’re not the only ones who have been hurt. Paul George suffered a knee injury earlier this week and is out two-to-three weeks.
Georges’ absence comes at a very bad time because the Clippers have struggled mightily against Oklahoma City this season, posting a 102.4 Offensive Rating across three matchups. That has been complimented with a 109.7 Defensive Rating, but those defensive efforts have not been enough.
The George injury makes me significantly less confident in the Clippers, so I think this is a good matchup to back the Thunder as road underdogs.
Luck has been on Oklahoma City’s side in this series. On Tuesday, the Thunder escaped with a one-point win over the Clippers, the largest factor in that win being the Clippers shooting an abysmal 57% from the free-throw line.
However, the Thunder have consistently shown up as a road underdog this season. According to TeamRankings, the Thunder are 19-8-3 against the spread when given points on the road, the second-best ATS mark in the league this season.
Los Angeles has been held to 100 points or less in two of the three games played between these teams and I just don’t see the offense picking up much steam without George on the floor. I like the Thunder to potentially win this one outright yet again, but I prefer to take them with the points and would play it to a pick ’em.
Pick: Thunder +2.5 (-110)
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