The Los Angeles Clippers lost 109-97 to the Oklahoma City Thunder at the Staples Center on Tuesday night, falling 1½ games behind the Thunder in the Western Conference standings. However, Chris Paul did not play in the game, which certainly may have had an effect on the outcome. It's also likely why DeAndre Jordan told Vincent Bonsignore of the Press-Telegram that he feels the Clippers are still the better team:
"I know what we're capable of and I still believe we're the better team."
Los Angeles has been brilliant pretty much all year, using their star power and perhaps the NBA's best bench to a great first half of the season. And while the Clippers have lost to the Thunder twice this year, Steve Perrin of Clips Nation believes they have little reason to fear the defending Western Conference champions:
I'll tell you this much -- the Clippers have no reason to fear this team. I mean, no reason beyond the obvious fact that the Thunder are really, really good. The Clippers may be 0-2 against OKC this season, but Chris Paul only played in one of those games and didn't even play well in that one. Meanwhile, I'll stipulate that the Thunder will beat the Clippers every time they make 56% of 27 three point shots -- but I'll take my chances that it won't happen a lot.
While the Thunder have a ton of talent and championship experience to boot, a deep Clippers team with a healthy Paul is very dangerous. Oklahoma City would likely be the favorites in a playoff series, but Los Angeles would be able to give them a run for their money. It would be fun to see if the Clippers could back up Jordan's bold words.