Clippers, Thunder ready to clash

It’s an early-season test for the Clippers with a meeting against Oklahoma City at Staples Center.
In fact, it’s a much-anticipated one between two teams that could contend for the Western Conference title. Only moments after the Clippers downed Minnesota on Monday night, Clippers coach Doc Rivers was asked about the showdown.
“Can I enjoy tonight?” he asked. “I mean, My gosh.”
The Clippers (5-3) have been playing improved defense but this time they’ll be dealing with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, who is back after knee surgery.
“I am happy that Westbrook’s back in time for us to least prepare, so that will give us a sense of how to guard,” Rivers said. “That’ll be a tough one.”
Rivers said he doesn’t look at games like this as much more than another game on the schedule but at the same time, he’s not discounting its importance.
“They all matter,” he said. “One game can be the difference between that last game being at home. When you play a playoff team, and you can beat a playoff team, it’s a two-for.”
The Thunder (5-1) will be without starting center Kendrick Perkins, who traveled to Texas due to the death of his grandfather. Steven Adams, a 7-foot rookie from Pittsburgh, will start.

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