OKC takes on surging Los Angeles group

Oklahoma City takes on surging Los Angeles group

It’s official: Russell Westbrook is just the third player in NBA history to post at least 20 triple-doubles in a season. But will the multifaceted guard lift his Thunder past the Clippers tonight?

The Western Conference rivals meet in the Golden State at 10:30 p.m. ET. Online sports book Bovada.lv gives Doc Rivers’ troops odds of -360 to capture their seventh straight win. Oklahoma City, on the other hand, enters Staples Center as a +280 underdog.

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At 25-17, Billy Donovan’s club certainly can’t be discounted when the subject turns to viable playoff contenders. Yet most observers pay attention to OKC for a single reason: the whirling dervish donning No. 0. Westbrook finished with 36 points, 11 boards and 10 assists in yesterday’s 122-118 triumph against the Kings. Over the last six games, he’s even shooting a respectable 38 percent from beyond the arc.

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Meanwhile, the Clips (28-14) continue to utilize all kinds of contributors as they doggedly chase the Warriors in the Pacific Division. Floor general Chris Paul, now in his 12th season, seems utterly rejuvenated. Power forward Blake Griffin remains sidelined coming off knee surgery, but center DeAndre Jordan happens to be the league’s second-leading rebounder. J.J. Redick, Austin Rivers and Jamal Crawford also head up a veritable legion of gunners.

The Thunder may well keep pace for three or so quarters. Once Los Angeles invariably raises the defensive intensity, though, the visitors’ mental and physical fatigue should hit critical mass. Bank on the usual Westbrook heroics, for sure, but in a losing effort.

 

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