The Los Angeles Clippers entered the season without many expectations.
On the other hand, the Oklahoma City Thunder had plenty of expectations after keeping Paul George before his free agency really ever began and adding Dennis Schroder and Nerlens Noel to help build up a reserve group that struggled last season.
In the early part of the NBA season, though, the Clippers have found success while the Thunder have struggled to find much positive consistency.
“It’s, again, unselfishness. No one’s hunting points, they’re hunting the open guy.” Clippers coach Doc Rivers told reporters after his team improved to 4-2 with Sunday’s home win over the Washington Wizards. “And that’s a good way to play; it’s the only way we can play, it’s the only way we’ll be good.”
The Clippers have done plenty of not only hunting the open guy but finding the open guy, averaging 116.5 points per game.
As good as the offense has been, the defense has been even better, allowing just 103.9 points per 100 possessions.
“It’s funny because it’s who we are,” Rivers said, referencing Americans. “We like scoring. It’s why we don’t follow soccer (as much).”
They’re also doing it with the help of a reserve unit that has been the highest scoring bench in the league by more than 7.5 points. The Clippers are averaging 55.4 points per game from their bench.
Oklahoma City is coming off its first win of the season Sunday over the Suns, though they nearly let a big lead slip away late in that one.
“I think we can build off that win and keep getting better,” Schroder said.
The teams have already met once this season, with the Clippers winning 108-92 at the Staples Center on Oct. 19.
Oklahoma City was without Westbrook in that game, though.
Westbrook has played in each of the first three games of the current homestand, working his way back from offseason knee surgery.
He’s averaging 22.7 points, 12 rebounds and 7.7 assists so far, and made just 1 of his 11 3-point tries.
Source: Fox Sports