Doc Rivers calls Chris Paul, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and Danilo Gallinari 'Clippers Southwest'
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Doc Rivers calls Chris Paul, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and Danilo Gallinari ‘Clippers Southwest’

Doc Rivers, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari, Chris Paul, Clippers, Thunder

The LA Clippers took on the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday with a lot on the line in terms of seeding. The matchup, however, also featured a number of players facing their former teams. Chris Paul, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and Danilo Gallinari spent time with the Clippers while Paul George and Patrick Patterson spent time with the Thunder.

Heading into the big matchup, Clippers head coach Doc Rivers spoke about the trio of former players, calling them ‘Clippers Southwest.’

“You do know a little about them,” Rivers said. “They probably know a lot about your stuff. But it’s a lot of fun. They had more fun last time.”

By last time, Rivers was referencing the last Clippers-Thunder game in Oklahoma City, which OKC won by a score of 118-112.

Paul spent six seasons with the Clippers from 2011 to 2017, elevating them to relevancy throughout the tough Western Conference and even within their own city. Paul averaged 18.8 points, 4.2 rebounds, 9.8 assists, and 2.2 steals per game in 409 appearances for LA. Paul was traded to the Houston Rockets for Lou Williams, Patrick Beverley, Montrezl Harrell and a few other players that were later cut.

Gilgeous-Alexander and Gallinari were traded last summer for Paul George. The move also cleared the way for the Clippers to sign Kawhi Leonard and pair him up with George.

The Clippers have only played eight games this season fully healthy, and have won all eight games. LA is 41-19 record so far, good for the second seed in the Western Conference.

The Thunder have likely surprised everyone this season. After trading away superstars Russell Westbrook and Paul George, many expected the Thunder to trade their best players away and finish as one of the worst teams in the NBA. Instead, OKC has compiled an impressive 37-23 record through 60 games, currently sitting as the sixth seed in the West, but are only two games out of the fourth seed. They’re all but likely to make the playoffs, but it’s unclear how good they really can be.