Westbrook Will Be Gametime Decision
By Randy Renner
Thunder head coach Scott Brooks won't reveal his decision on whether point guard Russell Westbrook plays tonight against Denver or tomorrow night against Dallas until just before tonight's game.
Brooks doesn't usually make himself available to the media after home shootarounds and didn't today. Westbrook is expected to be back on his regular schedule of missing one game of a back-to-back set.
The Nuggets come to town probably in worse shape, injury-wise, than the Thunder. Wilson Chandler didn't play in their win last night in Denver because of a sprained ankle and may not tonight either. Jan Vesely left last night's game with bruised ribs and likely won't play tonight.
The Nuggets have already lost Danilo Gallinari, JaVale McGee, Nate Robinson and J.J. Hickson to season-ending injuries.
Still the Nuggets are a team that can put pressure on a defense.
"We just gotta get back in transition and keep 'em in front of us," said Thunder forward Kevin Durant. "They're good in the half-court too but they'd rather play in transition so we have to all get back."
Despite their injuries the Nuggets still have speedy Ty Lawson running the point and athletic Kenneth Faried at power forward. Randy Foye is also a big 3-point threat from his shooting guard position. Denver's problem is depth and coming in playing the second night of a back-to-back the Thunder will likely push the issue and see if they can run them a little ragged.
The Thunder are focused in now on the job at hand but memories are still fresh from that amazing win at Toronto Friday night when the Thunder came back from eight points down with less than a minute to play in the second overtime to win 119-118 thanks to a 3-point dagger and 51 points from Durant.
"I had 63 text messages when I got back to my phone after the game," Durant laughed. "I'm glad we've had two days in between cuz that was an emotional game, but it was fun to be a part of."
And now, after having time to think about it some more Durant still says it was the most amazing game he's ever been a part of.
"Just being down eight with 40 second to go and hittin' three threes in a row to win that game is unheard of. A lot of people probably turned their TVs off when we were down. So yeah I think that ranks highest because of the circumstances."
The Thunder will try to avoid having to take this game into overtime because it will be the first of a back-to-back for them as they head to Dallas for a game against the Mavericks tomorrow night.
"Will gets you through a lot of things, especially if you're tired late in the season," KD said. "And every guy on this team has that will power to never let the fatigue get to 'em."
Coach Brooks will talk to reporters at 5:15 and we should find out then what Westbrook's status will be for tonight so check back to the site for our Thunder Tipoff blog about an hour before gametime.