Thunder vs. Clippers: Key Players in Western Conference Showdown

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 16:  Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder glides to the basket against Kenyon Martin #2 of the Los Angeles Clippers during the fourth quarter of the NBA basketball game at Staples Center on April 16, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Clippers defeated the Thunder, 92-77. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
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Morgan ChalfantContributor IIIJanuary 22, 2013

Tonight, the Los Angeles Clippers and the Oklahoma City Thunder will meet in a Western Conference battle. Los Angeles will host OKC at 10:30 pm eastern time.

Currently, Oklahoma City has the best record in the NBA with 32 wins and 9 losses. However, the Clippers do not trail far behind with a record of 32-10. With home court advantage, the Clippers could definitely take the win tonight.

Starting forwards Kevin Durant (OKC) and Blake Griffin (LAC) will go head-to-head tonight, and it’s difficult to determine who will dominate the other.

For the 2012-2013 season, Durant has a field goal percentage of .516, a three-point percentage of .404 and a free-throw percentage of .909 in 39.7 minutes of game play. He also averages an impressive 7.5 rebounds per game and 29.5 points per game. On January 18th, Durant led OKC to a 117-114 victory over Dallas, tallying 52 points and 9 rebounds in his 50 minutes of game play.

Thus far for the Clippers’ 2012-2013 season, Griffin has a field goal percentage of .527, a three-point percentage of .200 and a free-throw percentage of .643 in 32.2 minutes of play. Though his field goal tally rivals Durant’s, Griffin obviously falls short in his three-point and free-throw shooting abilities. His 8.5 rebounds per game also come close to Durant’s 9, but his average 18.0 points per game pale in comparison to Durant’s 29.5.

The powerful forwards are not the only players facing off, though. Guards Russell Westbrook (OKC) and Chris Paul (LAC) will also have their hands full with one another.

This season, Westbrook has a field goal percentage of .421 and a free-throw percentage of .803, while Paul averages a bit better with a field goal percentage of .473 and a free-throw percentage of .897. Westbrook comes out ahead in points per game, though, averaging 23.0 whereas Paul averages 16.6.

Westbrook also averages 8.3 assists and 5.3 rebounds in 36.4 minutes of game play. Paul edges him out in assists with 9.7, but falls short in rebounds with only 3.5 in 33.5 minutes of play.

With matchups like these, the Thunder-Clippers showdown tonight will be competitive. Durant seems to be on a roll and his statistics certainly outweigh those of Griffin. However, Westbrook and Paul are tightly matched, and Los Angeles has home court advantage. Only one thing is certain: the winner of tonight’s game will make a huge statement in the Western Conference.

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