LA has gotten off to a strong start to the season, and they have their starting forwards to thank for that. The defensive guard play has been impressive, and with Montrezl Harrell’s further emergence as an elite backup, the team looks great.
For OKC, they are now 1-2 in the three games Westbrook has played in, and there seem to be quite a few chinks in their armor. They lack depth at wing positions and don’t have much at the PF spot. Their only win of the season two nights ago was by eight points against the Booker-less Suns. Yikes.
Clippers Getting Nice Scoring
As I mentioned above, it has been the strong play from Tobias Harris and Danilo Gallinari that has gotten the Clips to their strong start. Tobias is averaging 22 points and nine rebounds on 49.5% shooting, while Gallo is not far behind averaging 19 points and seven rebounds on 46% shooting (43% from 3PT). These two guys are the keys to the offense being efficient, and the lack of a healthy Gallo is what hurt them so much last year. He got the big bucks from Doc Rivers to play just as he is this season.
Avery Bradley and Patrick Beverley are still not scoring much, but their defense impact is certainly still felt out there for LA, while Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is off to a terrific start. They moved up a spot to take him, and that move is looking smarter and smarter every day. They still need a bit more production from Gortat when he’s out there, but either way, they are a playoff contender.
Thunder Off to Slow Start
At 1-4, this team is not quite where they want to be. Russell Westbrook has been doing his thing, and PG is averaging 24 points per game. But at 1-4 and still with hardly any bench scoring, it doesn’t look good. Steven Adams’ numbers have improved yet again this year, but it hasn’t meant wins. The PF spot without Carmelo looks even worse than it did with him as neither Jerami Grant nor Patrick Patterson have been very effective this year. Billy Donovan’s reluctance to change up the rotation doesn’t help anything.
They need Russ to come out aggressive tonight, especially going against Patrick Beverley. Westbrook has been wise to attempt fewer threes this year as it drags the rest of his game down, but he isn’t scoring any additional points without it. He and George need to both go off tonight, and whether it’s Adams or Noel getting the start, they must get on the boards.
Clippers Win in OKC, Get to 5-2
The impressive start for the Clips continues tonight, with a road win. 30 points from Tobias Harris, in a contract year and showing he’s worth A LOT, will pave the road to victory.
55 points combined from Russ and PG will be far from enough as the Thunder drop to 1-5, and Billy Donovan’s seat gets hotter.
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