The Thunder have had some well publicized defensive struggles lately and now they will go forward without their two best defenders.
Thunder GM Sam Presti announced this afternoon that Thabo Sefolosha will be out an anticipated "4 to 6 weeks" with a strained left calf muscle. Center Kendrick Perkins was placed on that same timetable a week ago with a strained left groin that required a medical procedure to repair.
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"I'm anxious to see we handle this," Presti said, "we're going to need everybody."
For tonight Perry Jones III will start in place of Sefolosha meaning OKC will have four players 6-10 or taller on the floor to begin the game.
"Starting Perry is something I've been thinking about," said Thunder head coach Scott Brooks. Brooks had started rookie Andre Robertson for Sefolosha earlier this season but for tonight Brooks is going with Jones, "I had to pick somebody and tonight it's Perry. It may be kind of a fluid position going forward, we have a lot of options there, but Perry gives us great athleticism on the break and a lot of flexibility going forward."
Newly acquired swingman Caron Butler has had travel difficulties (imagine that) getting to Oklahoma City because of the ongoing snow and sleet storm. Presti anticipates Butler will be able to practice with the team tomorrow and now that Sefolosha is out for an extended period of time Butler is another player that could fit right into that spot.
"He's somebody that brings physicality on both ends of the floor, he can make timely shots and he provides valuable depth."
Depth that is becoming more valuable by the moment.
Don't Call Them "Boobcats" Anymore
Charlotte used to be so bad even people there in Carolina took to calling them the "Boobcats", well times have changed.
The Bobcats are coming in on a bit of a hot streak and are in the Eastern Conference playoff picture. They've won five of their last seven games. However, they lost Friday night in San Antonio and didn't shoot the ball very well.
In fact over their last three games the Cats are shooting just 37.3 percent and even when the Thunder played the Bobcats in Charlotte back in December OKC held them to just 37.5 percent. Of course the way the Thunder defense has been lately (except for the first half of the Memphis game) playing Oklahoma City might be a tonic for poor shooting.
Charlotte finally waived Ben Gordon, waiting until the buyout period was over so he's not eligible for playoff rosters. Must be some bad blood there.
Taking his spot on the Bobcats roster is a 7-0, 260 pound D-Leaguer, Justin Hamilton. Hamilton will not be available tonight to go against the Thunder.
Tipoff is 6 o'clock and you can see it on Fox Sports Oklahoma. Check back here after the game, our cameras will be in the lockerroom for reaction.