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News » Thunder-Clippers Preview

Thunder-Clippers Preview

Thunder-Clippers Preview
After a rough first few months of the season, the Oklahoma City Thunder have enjoyed something of a resurgence lately.

Looking to build on a rare road victory, the Thunder wrap up a two-game swing when they face the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night in a matchup of last-place teams.

Oklahoma City (9-34) finished at the bottom of the Western Conference in 2007-08, suffering a franchise-record 62 losses in the team's final season as the Seattle SuperSonics. The club currently finds itself in the same position, with Los Angeles (9-32) just ahead of it in the standings.

While the Thunder own the league's worst record, they've played better over the past few weeks, with four wins in their last six contests and a 6-5 mark in the last 11. The most recent victory came Wednesday night, when Jeff Green's jumper at the buzzer lifted them to a 122-121 victory at Golden State.

Green finished with 26 points, rookie Russell Westbrook scored 30 and Kevin Durant added 27 points and 12 rebounds for Oklahoma City, which turned in its best offensive performance of the season. The Thunder are one of the lowest-scoring clubs in the league at 96.0 points per contest.

"That wasn't our game plan to try to outscore this team in a high-scoring fashion," Thunder interim coach Scott Brooks said. "We hung with them and gave ourselves a chance to win."

Brooks' team improved to 3-17 as a visitor and now looks to snap a three-game overall losing streak against Los Angeles. The Thunder have dropped two matchups - both at home - to the Clippers this season, getting outscored by an average of 15.0 points.

Durant, among the league leaders with a team-high 24.2 points per game, scored 25 in a 98-88 defeat to the Clippers on Dec. 16. Green and Chris Wilcox each added 13 for Oklahoma City, which has dropped five of its last seven visits to Los Angeles.

Los Angeles' Zach Randolph and rookie Eric Gordon each had 22 points, while Marcus Camby added 13 points and 15 rebounds in that contest.

Randolph, though, has been sidelined for the last 13 games with a sore left knee, and Camby has missed two in a row with a sprained left ankle. It's unclear if either will be available Friday for Los Angeles, which is also without Chris Kaman (strained left arch), Baron Davis (bruised tailbone), Jason Hart (sore right elbow) and Mike Taylor (fractured right thumb).

That extensive injury list has contributed to the Clippers' fall into last place in the Pacific Division. They've lost 14 of their last 15 games and eight of the previous nine at Staples Center.

Los Angeles dropped to a league-worst 4-18 at home with Wednesday night's 108-97 defeat to the Los Angeles Lakers. The Clippers did get a boost from seldom-used rookie DeAndre Jordan, who set career highs with 23 points and 12 rebounds while making his second straight start.

"Our guys played their hearts out and did a lot of really good things out there," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. "But the big difference in the game was their size against us - 17 offensive rebounds for 34 points."

Al Thornton scored 20 points and Gordon added 16 against the Lakers. Thornton, averaging 18.3 points in his last 11 games, has averaged 17.7 points over his last three contests versus the Thunder franchise.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: January 22, 2009


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