The Oklahoma City Thunder host the Golden State Warriors in a huge primetime ABC game on Saturday night and Kevin Durant will not play because of an ankle injury.
Yesterday Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said on 95.7 The Game that Durant was likely to be out against the Thunder. Kerr added that the two-time NBA Champion could be available for Monday’s game against the Spurs.
“I just think given the nature of (the injury), giving him a couple of extra days makes too much sense — especially at this stage of the season.”
“If this were a playoff game, for sure he’d be playing but we want to be extra cautious. So, I’m guessing San Antonio will be the first game back, but we’ll see how he feels tomorrow. It’s up to him and (Director of Sports Medicine and Performance) Rick (Celebrini) tomorrow after shootaround.”
Durant left Sunday’s 115-111 home loss against the Suns in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury and he hasn’t played since, missing Wednesday’s road win against the Rockets. This could be the starting lineup for the Warriors with Durant out against his former team.
Warriors Roster & Starting Lineup vs. Thunder
*Notates expected starter
C: DeMarcus Cousins*, Kevon Looney
PF: Draymond Green*, Jordan Bell, Jonas Jerebko
SF: Andre Iguodala*, Alfonzo McKinnie
SG: Klay Thompson*, Quinn Cook, Damion Lee
PG: Stephen Curry*, Shaun Livingston
Any time Durant returns to Oklahoma City, the stakes of the game get a little higher, particularly when he’s near Russell Westbrook. Durant played for the Thunder for nine seasons before leaving for the Warriors in the summer of 2016.
Durant’s first game back in OKC was emotional but things appear to have calmed down somewhat since and this year he won’t play at Chesapeake Energy Arena unless the Warriors face the Thunder in the playoffs.
The Warriors are coming off an impressive 106-104 road win against the Rockets last Wednesday. Klay Thompson led the way with 30 points, making 5 of 10 from 3-pointers, DeMarcus Cousins had season-highs with 27 points and seven assists, along with eight rebounds and Stephen Curry added 24 points to help Golden State end Houston’s nine-game winning streak and avoid a season sweep against them.
Andre Iguodala replaced Kevin Durant in the starting lineup and it appears likely he would take his place again with KD unable to go. Iguodala had just three points in 25 minutes but he added five rebounds and four assists.
After a dominant 108-96 home win against Brooklyn, Oklahoma City lost 108-106 in Indiana last Thursday, when they blew an 18-point lead and turned the ball over 18 times. Paul George did have his best game since February 22, scoring 36 points with six rebounds, five assists and two steals while going 10-for-23 from the field and 6-for-11 from beyond the arc in 36 minutes.
PG13 is averaging 26.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.0 assists in 36.5 minutes over two games against the Warriors this season. The teams split those two meetings, both at ORACLE Arena. The Warriors won 108-100 on October 16 (Russell Westbrook didn’t play) and the Thunder crushed them 123-95 on November 21, but Stephen Curry missed that game.
This is a very important contest for OKC, not just because they’re facing Durant’s new team. The Thunder are five games behind the Warriors for first place in the Western Conference and one game behind the third-place Rockets, so they can’t afford to lose ground in the standings, especially when they play at home.
Prior to the injury, Durant was averaging 27.4 points, 6.7 rebounds and 5.7 assists in 35.4 minutes over 65 games this season.