There's some good news, and some bad news. The good news is that OKC is going to be sitting both Russell Westbrook (which we knew) and Serge Ibaka (which we didn't know) in this game. Westbrook is expected to be out until after the All-Star break, but Russ wants to return sooner. That's still a month away. Ibaka will not play due to flu-like symptoms. This is his first game missed due to illness since January 14th, 2014 -- so nearly a year ago. This may mean more minutes for Perry Jones and Nick Collison. In place of Westbrook I expect to see much more of Reggie Jackson. Jackson is third on the team in total minutes played this season (864) for OKC, and fifth in MPG (25.4). So it's not like he's inexperienced.
The bad news is that we're still the worst defensive club in the league, they are Top 3, and Kevin Durant is still going to play. Durant is averaging 29.0 ppg off of a very healthy 49.6 fg% while also shooting 42.0 3pt% -- and he gets to the line 9.4 times a game, and making 88.4 ft%. He has a PER of 29.1, a USG% of 30.5 with a AST% of 23.4, and an ORtg of 122. This season he's already accumulated 8.2 win shares this season. If you add up all the win shares of our entire team (including guys who aren't on the team anymore like Jamaal Tinsley and Mike Harris) it adds up to 9.1 win shares. In a star driven league against a bad home team, when his team needs him the most -- guys like Kevin Durant are capable of carrying the load on offense.
And by that I mean go to the free throw line at least a billion times. Well, I put the O/U at 12.5. Tell me what you got.
- Point Guards: Reggie Jackson (16.7 PER) vs. Trey Burke (14.6 PER)
- Shooting Guards: Thabo Sefolosha (10.1 PER) vs. Gordon Hayward (16.3 PER)
- Small Forwards: Kevin Durant (29.1 PER) vs. Richard Jefferson (11.6 PER)
- Power Forwards: Perry Jones III (13.9 PER) vs. Marvin Williams (14.8 PER)
- Center: Kendrick Perkins (6.5 PER) vs. Derrick Favors (18.6 PER)
Jeremy Lamb (16.0 PER) vs. Alec Burks (14.0 PER)
- Nick Collison (11.5 PER) vs. Enes Kanter (13.3 PER)
Steven Adams (13.6 PER) vs. Jeremy Evans (17.3 PER)
- Derek Fisher (7.8 PER) vs. Diante Garrett (9.5 PER)
- Russell Westbrook (21.4 PER) - OKC
- Serge Ibaka (17.8 PER) - OKC
We're at home, they're more injured. They lead the Western Conference, and we're #15, last.
REGARDLESS . . .