The Los Angeles Clippers are returning to Oklahoma City for the first time since an epic and controversial collapse there in last year's playoffs.
The Thunder team they will be facing will look a lot different than the one Los Angeles saw in its season opener.
Kevin Durant wasn't available that night for Oklahoma City, which will try to extend visiting Los Angeles' season-high losing streak to four games Sunday.
These teams met in a thrilling Western Conference semifinal series last season that was tied at two games apiece heading into Game 5 in Oklahoma City. The Clippers were on the brink of a 3-2 lead as they held a 104-97 advantage with 49 seconds left.
The Thunder (25-25) scored the game's final eight points, with Russell Westbrook making three free throws with 6.4 seconds remaining for the final margin after he was fouled by Chris Paul on a 3-point attempt. Oklahoma City got the ball with 11.3 seconds to go after a scramble in which the ball went out of bounds and the Clippers felt they should have been awarded possession.
Los Angeles then lost Game 6 at home, though the previous game is one that continues to haunt star forward Blake Griffin.
''That game is still on my mind,'' Griffin said. ''It's the one game I've probably watched the most in the year's time. I couldn't tell you how many times I watched that over the summer.''
The Clippers (33-18) won 93-90 over the Thunder on Oct. 30, though they can hardly claim any sort of revenge. Oklahoma City played without an injured Durant while Westbrook left in the second quarter with a broken hand that sidelined him for the next 14 games.
"We're definitely a much better team," Thunder coach Scott Brooks joked. "But give our guys credit, that was a fun game. We were out with a bunch of guys."
Oklahoma City is better now that Durant returned in Friday's 116-113 home loss to New Orleans. Durant made 9 of 26 shots for 27 points after missing four of the previous five games with a sprained left big toe.
"He was comfortable," Brooks said. "Those were good shots for him and the thing that I always look at is set-ups. When he has great set-ups, he has good energy and he can make those shots and he had great set-ups to get those good shots but they just didn't fall."
Brooks will be without backup center Kendrick Perkins, who was suspended for one game without pay by the NBA on Saturday for initiating and making head-to-head contact with the Pelicans' Tyreke Evans.
That gives the Thunder one less body to defend Griffin, the Oklahoma City native who will join a plethora of superstars on the floor Sunday.
"Tomorrow afternoon's game is gonna be a fun game from the standpoint there's gonna be a lot of All-Stars on the court," Brooks said.
Paul figures to have his hands full with Westbrook, who has 93 points in his last two games after a spectacular 48-point, 11-assist, nine-rebound effort Friday.
That same night, Los Angeles fell to 2-4 on this eight-game trip with a 123-107 loss to Toronto after blowing an early 20-point lead. Griffin scored 26 points and Paul added 22.
''Guys need to step up, we need to find a way and we need to be better,'' Griffin said. ''You can't get too low, but our sense of urgency needs to go sky high right now.''
Clippers starting shooting guard J.J. Redick is expected to miss a third straight game with back spasms.