Jackson Uncertain For Tonight
The worst thing that happened in the Thunder's 102-97 loss to Indiana yesterday is that backup point guard Reggie Jackson got hurt trying to fight through a screen and his playing status is in question for tonight's game in New Orleans.
Jackson didn't return to yesterday's game in Indianapolis after running headlong into a screen being set by one of the Pacer's big men. He had precautionary X-rays done at the arena and those were negative but Jackson's neck was sore after the game and he wasn't sure if he'd be able to play tonight or not.
Jackson's status is even more important for this game because All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook definitely won't play since he was on the floor against the Pacers and still is not playing both ends of back-to-back sets.
So if neither Westbrook nor Jackson plays it will be interesting to see what Thunder head coach Scott Brooks does at that positon. Derek Fisher would be the likely starter and the Thunder could probably also use Kevin Durant to bring the ball up some and perhaps Jeremy Lamb.
That may be the most interesting aspect to the game tonight because the Pelicans continue to be plagued with injury woes of their own.
The Pelicans (32-48) continue to trudge along with perhaps the league's most injury-plagued roster, losing eight in a row after a season-best five-game winning streak. It's their longest skid since an 11-game slide in December of 2012.
Anthony Davis (back spasms) and Eric Gordon (knee tendinitis) are both out for the club's final two games, while Tyreke Evans (knee) and Brian Roberts (ankle) are day-to-day after leaving Friday's blowout loss to the Thunder in Oklahoma City.
Neither played in Saturday's 111-104 defeat at Houston, where New Orleans dressed only eight healthy players. The Pelicans were missing their top seven scorers with Ryan Anderson, Jrue Holiday and Jason Smith already sidelined and all expected to miss tonight's game too.
Even with those issues, Pelicans forward Luke Babbitt scored a career-high 24 points and helped New Orleans to an eight-point lead with less than three minutes remaining at Houston but the Rockets ended the game on a 15-0 run. Austin Rivers and Anthony Morrow each added 20 points.
Sunday the Thunder again had problems defending the perimeter, allowing the Pacers to hit 45 percent of their threes and almost 53 percent of their shots overall.
The Thunder also took and missed too many long balls of their own and were dominated on the boards.
OKC likely won't have any of those problems against the short-handed Pelicans, the same bunch they clobbered at The Peake on Friday night. The Thunder have beaten New Orleans in 10 straight games.
Durant has led the Thunder's win streak in this series by shooting 62.2 percent, including 22-for-42 from 3-point range. His 53.4 career field-goal percentage against New Orleans is his highest against one opponent, and Oklahoma City has also won 14 of the past 15 meetings.
If the Thunder come out of the Big Easy with a win then they clinch the number 2 seed in the Western Conference playoffs.
Tipoff tonight is set for 7:10 and you can see the game on Fox Sports Oklahoma.