Thunder three-time All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook has never missed a game in the NBA and has the league's longest active streak at 393 consecutive games played.
OKC (60-21) closes out the regular season at 7 p.m. Wednesday against the Milwaukee Bucks (37-44) at Chesapeake Energy Arena, but Thunder coach Scott Brooks wouldn't share his starting lineup after Tuesday's practice.
Westbrook playfully was asked if there would be a fist fight if Brooks asked him to sit out the finale.
“No, no, no. There won't be a fist fight,” Westbrook said with a smile, “but he won't ask me (to do) that.”
Brooks can be cautious and flexible with his lineups because OKC already has clinched the No. 1 seed and home-court advantage throughout the Western Conference playoffs. Fans who have begged for more playing time from Reggie Jackson, Ronnie Brewer, Jeremy Lamb and Perry Jones III will get their wish.
“Not a lot of minutes,” Brooks said when asked how long Thunder regulars will play Wednesday.
Milwaukee also might be tempted to rest some key players because it has clinched the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference, but the Bucks also are out to snap their five-game losing streak.
Brooks said starting center Kendrick Perkins (right hamstring tightness) and sixth man Kevin Martin (lower back spasms) will be held out for the third straight game. Reserve guard Derek Fisher (sore left foot) likely will be available.
The Thunder hasn't won a regular-season finale since 2010 (see chart), primarily because their final playoff seedings already had been determined.
“Big game tomorrow,” Brooks said. “I will say this, whoever's on the floor, I am confident that we will be put in a position to win. A lot of our guys who play normal minutes are not going to play normal minutes, but the guys who will play, I respect what they've done all year long. I respect their professionalism and that's going to show (Wednesday) night. It's an exciting game when you know that you're going to play, and these guys are going to be excited.
“We're going to play the way we play. We're not going to be changing just because the faces are different.”
Westbrook has 15 technical fouls this season, and a one-game suspension comes when a player gets his 16th — unless it's the regular-season finale.
Essentially, everyone is free to get T'd up in the final game of the regular season. Their only penalty will be paying the designated fine, not a potential one-game suspension.
If Westbrook picks up No. 16 (or No. 17) on Wednesday night, he'll still be eligible to play in Game 1 of the postseason because the technical count starts anew in the postseason, when a one-game suspension comes with a player's seventh technical foul and every other technical thereafter.
Westbrook was well-aware of the rules, too. Reminded he had 15 technicals, Westbrook smiled and playfully said: “I'm good. They start over in the playoffs, so I'm all good. I don't have nothin' to worry about.”
Here are the latest technical foul standings for the Thunder, which is second in the NBA with 95 total (which includes illegal defense, delay of game, et al), two behind the Los Angeles Clippers:
Westbrook (15), Kevin Durant (12), Perkins (12), Serge Ibaka (7), Hasheem Thabeet (5), Nick Collison (2), Martin (2), DeAndre Liggins (2), Thabo Sefolosha (2), Brooks (2), Jackson (1) and Fisher (1).
Brooks when informed Westbrook said he didn't expect to be asked to sit out entirely against Milwaukee, which would snap his streak of 393 consecutive games played: “Hey, I'm not scared of him.”
THUNDER SEASON FINALE
Season; Score; Opponent; Result
2011-12; 106-101; Denver; Loss
2010-11; 110-106 (OT); Milwaukee; Loss
2009-10; 114-105; Memphis; Win
2008-09; 126-85; at LA Clippers; Win