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NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, April 6th (All times eastern)
Los Angeles Clippers (31-47) at Oklahoma City Thunder (51-26), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Coming off a huge win that virtually sealed the Northwest Division title and home-court advantage in the first round of the NBA playoffs, the Thunder return home to face Oklahoma City native Blake Griffin and the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Thunder finished up a four-game road trip with a big 101-94 victory over the second-place Denver Nuggets on Tuesday. Kevin Durant scored 32 points and pulled down nine rebounds in that one as Oklahoma City inched closer to winning the Northwest for the first time since 2004-05, when the franchise was known as the Seattle SuperSonics.
Russell Westbrook added 18 points and six assists for the Thunder, who now own a four-game lead over the Nuggets in the division. The Thunder hold the fourth spot in the Western Conference, while the Nuggets sit in fifth. Both teams have five games left in the regular season, including a meeting against each other in Oklahoma City on Friday.
"This was a good win for us," Westbrook said. "And we needed it. We gave away two games we should have won so this was good."
The Clippers, meanwhile, are out of postseason play for the 13th time in 14 seasons but seem to finally be headed in the right direction thanks in large part to Griffin, the presumptive Rookie of the Year that played his college ball at the University of Oklahoma.
Griffin finished with 15 points and 14 rebounds on Tuesday as the Clippers played spoiler in the opener of a four-game road trip, using a strong fourth quarter to edge the Memphis Grizzlies, 82-81, at FedEx Forum.
Mo Williams contributed 16 points and Chris Kaman posted 14 points and seven rebounds for Los Angeles, which has won consecutive games and snapped a three- game skid to the Grizzlies. Eric Gordon scored 11 with six rebounds for the victors.
"It was a nice team effort," Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro said. "I'm just glad the guys stayed together and fought through it and made enough plays in the end."
LA, which is now 9-29 on the road, will finish its trek with visits to Dallas and Houston before finishing the season against the Grizzlies again at Staples Center.
The Clips have taken two of three from the Thunder this season, including a 98-92 win in Hollywood last Saturday when Griffin scored 26 points and pulled down 16 rebounds. In his first trip as a pro back to Oklahoma City, Griffin had 28 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists on Feb. 22 but the Clippers were trounced 111-88.
04/06 10:48:40 ET
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