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Vitals: Thunder at Clippers

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Originally Published: Nov 11, 2009 1:45 PM CDT

Dave Carty
Oklahoma Sports Staff Writer

Oklahoma City Thunder (3-4) at Los Angeles Clippers (3-5)
Wednesday, November 11, 9:30 p.m. CST
Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
Game 8 of 82

Anticipated Starting Lineups

Oklahoma City (Away)
L.A. Clippers (Home)

Russell Westbrook
16.9 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 7.9 APG

Baron Davis
13.1 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 7.3 APG
Thabo Sefolosha
7.0 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 2.0 APG
Eric Gordon
18.9 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 4.0 APG
Kevin Durant
26.6 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 2.6 APG
Al Thornton
7.4 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 1.4 APG
Jeff Green
15.9 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 1.3 APG
Marcus Camby
9.3 PPG, 9.9 RPG, 3.5 APG
CNenad Krstic
9.9 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 0.3 APG
Chris Kaman
21.9 PPG, 9.4 RPG, 1.9 AP

Oklahoma City: none reported.
Los Angeles: PF, Blake Griffin (knee, out); Eric Gordon (groin, day-to-day).

Where to find it?
On Radio: Thunder Radio Network

What you need to know?
The Clippers have seen a mix of good and bad to start the season, like the Thunder. While not a great rebounding team thus far – surprising considering the large duo of former lottery picks Marcus Camby and Chris Kaman down low – Los Angeles has the third-best team field goal percentage in the Western Conference (47.85 percent). Much of this can be attributed to Kaman’s strong start, averaging 21.9 points per game – more than six points higher than his career-best. The Clippers’ record is a bit deceptive though. They lost their first four games, then won three straight against cream puffs – Minnesota, Golden State, and Memphis.

If the season has shown one fact thus far, it’s that the Thunder can change from quarter to quarter. Few leads are secure, for either team, when the Thunder is involved. Oklahoma City has maintained a strong defensive presence – currently seventh-best in points allowed – but it’s tough to tell where the defense ends and luck comes in to play. This season, opponents are averaging 29 percent from 3-point range against the Thunder, the third-lowest in the league. Can that be attributed to the pesky defense provided by Thabo Sefolosha and the guards? Or is that a trend bound to change? This Thunder defense has been a strong unit so far this season, but it will need that kind of effort every time out to compete in the Western Conference.

Who to watch?
The way Kaman has been playing, he’s will get looks working against Nenad Krstic. Unless the Thunder deploys Etan Thomas and Nick Collison in greater doses, Camby and Kaman will clean up all the mess and leave nothing on the offensive glass. Monday night, Kaman had a rough game against the New Orleans Hornets and committed four turnovers. But he shouldn’t see quite so much pressure this time out.

Owner of 37 points, Kevin Durant had his best game against the Sacramento Kings last night. While his shooting percentage dropped for the first time in three contests, he hit all 18 of his shots from the free throw line. Maybe there’s just something about California that Durant enjoys. He’s averaged 26.55 points per game in 30 games as a pro against the four California teams – the Warriors, Clippers, Lakers, and Kings. It could also be a good night for Russell Westbrook against Baron Davis, who seems to have dropped out of the upper-echelon of NBA point guards since his move to the Clippers.

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