AccuScore projects the Clippers to lead the NBA in wins this regular season (their posted season win total is 56 at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook), and L.A. is an overwhelming 82 percent favorite to win its season opener at home against the Thunder on Thursday (10:30 p.m. ET, TNT). The average score after 10,000-plus simulations performed by AccuScore’s computer is 112-101.
In line with this prediction, the Clippers are 11.5-point favorites at William Hill (check updated NBA lines on our live odds page).
The Kevin Durant-less Thunder will need a miracle of a performance from Russell Westbrook to keep this game close. Westbrook and Chris Paul will most likely keep each other in check, and Serge Ibaka and Blake Griffin will battle until the buzzer rings.
The issue for OKC is finding enough offensive firepower on a team built around the league’s most prolific scorer in Durant. In the Thunder’s season opener on Wednesday, 38 points from Westbrook wasn’t enough, as OKC lost in Portland 106-89.
For the Clippers to lose their opener, there would have to be a complete disregard for certain basics in the game. The team struggled in the preseason for a myriad of reasons, one of which was players leaking out before securing the defensive rebound.
L.A. coach Doc Rivers mentioned repeatedly that DeAndre Jordan needs help on the boards. If L.A. gives up too many offensive rebounds, OKC could get enough second-chance buckets to make it a game.