Thunder Start 2-Game Home Stand Tonight
By Randy Renner
Shootaround Update: Durant Out Tonight
Thunder superstar Kevin Durant will miss tonight's game with Sacramento and perhaps Wednesday's home game with Memphis because of a sprained right big toe.
Durant suffered the injury in the second quarter of Saturday's game at Charlotte when he landed on another player's foot. He continued to play in the game but woke up on Sunday with soreness.
He's been held out of practice while undergoing treatment and is officially being listed as day-to-day.
You might remember KD sprained his left big toe last season and ended up missing four games.
As is his custom, head coach Billy Donovan did not speak with reporters today after shootaround so it's not clear at this point who will start in Durant's place against Sacramento.
Donovan will have his pregame media availability at 5:15 this afternoon and we'll update you through our Twitter feed page.
Since starting the season 7-6 the Oklahoma City Thunder have now won 17 of their last 21 games and sit in third place in the Western Conference with a 24-10 record.
They’ve also won four straight and seven of their last eight after beating Charlotte 109-90 on Saturday night.
That win put a stop to a disturbing trend of poor defense. In the four previous games leading up to the Hornets contest OKC had allowed opponents to score 111.5 points a game on 48.4 percent shooting, including 43.0 percent from beyond the arc.
Saturday in Charlotte the Thunder gave up just 90 points on 34.5 percent shooting overall and 27.3 percent (6-for-22) on 3-pointers. Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka each had four blocks leading the way in a Thunder swat-fest that saw the team block 15 Hornet shots leading to easy transition baskets.
Those are numbers head coach Billy Donovan can live with much easier.
"I felt like our guys were really locked into the areas we need to get better. We showed a lot of improvement in those areas," Donovan told reporters after the game. "The things we were trying to do, I saw a conscientious effort for those guys to do those things."
Donovan's club will try to slow a Kings team that shot a season-high 60.9 percent Saturday while snapping a three-game skid with a 142-119 home win over Phoenix. It was their most points since a 154-98 victory over visiting Philadelphia on Jan. 2, 1993.
The Kings have never won a game against the Thunder in Oklahoma City but they came awfully close when the teams met earlier this season at The Peake.
That December 6th evening the Thunder appeared comfortably in front, leading by 17 points, but the Kings rallied to take a seven point lead late. Durant scored the last six points of the game and the Thunder got critical stops in the closing seconds to win a nail-biter 98-95.
Durant, you might remember, had one of those forgettable triple-doubles with 20 points,10 rebounds and a season-high 10 turnovers, while Russell Westbrook had a better triple-double with 19 points, 11 boards and 10 assists. Steven Adams added 12 rebounds to help Oklahoma City own a 62-41 advantage on the glass.
He also played a key role defensively against DeMarcus Cousins, who managed 13 points while missing 15 of 20 shots. The Kings shot just 39.8 percent from the field and 7-for-24 (29.2) from beyond the arc in that game.
In Charlotte the Thunder also continued a trend of sharing the basketball, coming up with 20 assists on 35 made baskets and they got good production again off the bench with Enes Kanter and Anthony Morrow each scoring 12 points and Dion Waiters dropping 10 plus adding five assists.
“It’s the unselfishness that our guys continue to try to show, playing the right way and moving and sharing the basketball,” Donovan said. “That starts with Russell and Kevin and they do a great job of that. Our bench came in and kept it going, which was good to see.”
You can catch tonight’s game on Fox Sports Oklahoma, tipoff is set for 7:10. As usual we’ll have complete coverage also that you can follow on our Twitter feed page beginning with today’s shootaround and we’ll have a video wrapup posted after the game with comments from Billy Donovan and Thunder players from inside the lockerroom.