With four games left in the regular season there’s huge significance for the Los Angeles Clippers (55-23) tonight when they face Western Conference foe the Oklahoma City Thunder (56-21)at Staples Center.
A win over the Thunder ties the franchise record for most wins in a season set last year with 56.
More importantly, Los Angeles is just a game and a half behind OKC for the second best record in the west having beaten Oklahoma City in two of their first three meetings.
A win tonight over the Thunder gives the Clippers the tie-breaker for seeding in the upcoming playoffs should both teams finish with the same record.
That means the second seed behind defending conference champion San Antonio and should the Clippers meet the Thunder down the road in the playoffs, the tie-breaker gives Los Angeles home court advantage which is huge if a trip to the NBA Finals is in the balance.
After dropping the first meeting to the Thunder by 14 points in November, the Clippers have reeled off two straight wins including a 125-117 win this past February in Oklahoma City.
Oklahoma City is, of course, led by Kevin Durant who’s averaging a league-best 32 points per game and just ended a streak where he scored 25 or more points in 41 straight games. The five-time all-star “only” scored 23 points in the Thunders 107-92 win last night in Sacramento over the Kings.
OKC isn’t a one-man show. Durant’s part of a dynamic duo with Los Angeles native Russell Westbrook who averages just over 21 points per game.
Of course all-stars Blake Griffin and Chris Paul lead the Clippers. Griffin’s on pace to average 24 points, nine rebounds and three assists per game while connecting on 50% from the field. The last player to do that, Shaquille O’Neal during the 2002-03 season.
Paul is averaging a double-double scoring 19 points and dishing out 11 assists per contest. He’s also grabbing four rebounds per game and averaging three steals per contest.
To hear Blake Griffin and Chris Paul discuss tonight's game against the Thunder, click on the video with this story.
Both teams have clinched their respective division titles with the Clippers taking their second straight Pacific Championship while OKC has the Northwest Title.
Los Angeles can clinch the three seed in the west with any combination of two Clipper wins or two Houston Rockets losses.
Clipper Nation has its sights on bigger fish meaning the number two seed. A win tonight with three games left gives them hope.
Tip-off is set for 7:40.