Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Los Angeles Clippers Pick & Prediction MARCH 23rd 2023

Stadium: Staples Center Los Angeles
Logo Oklahoma City Thunder
Logo Los Angeles Clippers

232.5o -110
-5 -105



The Los Angeles Clippers will be without All-Star forward Paul George when they wrap up their two-game set against the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday.

George will likely miss the rest of the regular season after leaving Tuesday's 101-100 loss to the Thunder late in the fourth quarter with an apparent right leg injury.

George was diagnosed with a sprained right knee and will be re-evaluated in two to three weeks.

"We obviously miss our teammate, (but) we still got a good coach, good team," Clippers forward Nicolas Batum said. "Of course, PG is a huge key for us. If we have to go through some time without him, we just have to go out there and win some games."

The Clippers (38-35) are fifth in the Western Conference with nine games remaining. The team's depth will certainly be tested without George, who is averaging 23.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 5.1 assists.

With George sidelined, Los Angeles will need to rely heavily on role players such as Eric Gordon, Robert Covington and Bones Hyland to fill the void.

"Next man up," Clippers star Kawhi Leonard said. "We'll see. Like I said, we've got a group of guys that still want to win and like to play basketball. So we'll see what happens."

Los Angeles had won five of six games before losing to the Thunder on Tuesday. George scored 18 points in the loss, which ended when Leonard was unable to get a shot off in the final seconds.

Oklahoma City (36-36) has won all three meetings against the Clippers this season and held the seventh seed in the Western Conference entering play Wednesday.

The Thunder have been exercising caution with point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who sat out the second game of two back-to-backs earlier this month while recovering from an abdominal strain. Coach Mark Daigneault said the All-Star could be available on Thursday.

"Based on how we've managed it and how he's managed it, he's responded well, especially right after games, which is most important for back-to-backs," Daigneault said. "We're open-minded to it, but we haven't played one yet."

Gilgeous-Alexander scored 31 points against his former team on Tuesday, while forward Jalen Williams added 20.

Oklahoma City used a balanced attack in Tuesday's victory with 10 players getting points on the board. Guard Isaiah Joe scored 12 and is averaging 10.1 points in 11 games this month.

Daigneault also turned to center Olivier Sarr, who had four points and six rebounds in a season-high 19 minutes. The second-year pro played over Dario Saric and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl and provided valuable minutes against Clippers center Ivica Zubac.

Oklahoma City has won five of six and appears well-positioned to claim a playoff spot, but Daigneault also has his team's long-term goals in mind.

"We're focused on building the best team we can build, and the best team we can build is a sustainable one," Daigneault said. "It's not just about a road trip, or a game or one season. Everything we're doing is in the perspective of that."

--Field Level Media

Oklahoma City Thunder
Los Angeles Clippers

Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Los Angeles Clippers Recap MAR 23TH 2023

Kawhi Leonard scored 32 points and Russell Westbrook added 24 as the Los Angeles Clippers took control in the second half to beat the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder 127-105 on Thursday.

Bones Hyland had 16 points and seven assists, while Terance Mann scored 14 points and Nicolas Batum added 12 for Los Angeles (39-35), which avenged a 101-100 home loss to Oklahoma City on Tuesday. Leonard shot 13-for-15 from the floor and had six rebounds, six assists and four steals.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led Oklahoma City (36-37) with 30 points against his former team. Josh Giddey scored 18 points, and Jalen Williams added 16.

The Clippers played without All-Star guard Paul George, who sprained his right knee in the Tuesday loss. George will miss the remainder of the regular season and will be reassessed in two to three weeks.

Leonard opened the game shooting 7-for-7 from the field and scored 15 points in the first quarter to help put Los Angeles ahead 36-29. The Clippers shot 63.6 percent from the field for the period.

Oklahoma City trailed 42-31 early in the second quarter before holding the Clippers to 12 points over the final 10 minutes of the half, which ended with the teams tied at 54. Gilgeous-Alexander had 19 points before the break to lead all scorers.

Leonard was held scoreless in the second quarter before responding with 15 in the third. After Oklahoma City moved ahead 68-65 on a Giddey 3-pointer, the Clippers began to take control over the final seven minutes of the period.

Los Angeles owned a 92-80 advantage at the end of the third quarter after draining two 3-pointers in the final minute. The Clippers carried the momentum into the fourth and outscored the Thunder 24-9 to begin the period.

Westbrook, who finished with seven assists, scored five straight points to put the Clippers ahead 116-89 with 4:51 remaining.

Ivica Zubac had a game-high 10 rebounds for Los Angeles, which shot 56 percent from the field and 48.6 percent (18 of 37) from 3-point range.

Oklahoma City, which had won the first three meetings against the Clippers this season, shot 44.1 percent from the field and 33.3 percent (13 of 39) from beyond the arc.

--Field Level Media