With three days off before a pair of vital late-season games against the Spurs and Rockets, now would seem as good a time as any for the Thunder to stretch Russell Westbrook out and play him on both ends of a back-to-back.
But, according to Scott Brooks, it’s “safe to assume” that Westbrook will indeed rest one of the next two games.
So with that established, the question becomes, which of the two? And the obvious answer would seem to be Friday at Houston, with his services likely needed more against the streaking Spurs, especially when considering the seeding implications. Plus, that would give Westbrook an extra day of rest before a tough game in Phoenix on Sunday.
But if Spurs coach Gregg Popovich were to rest a batch of his stars on Thursday — on the closing side of a back-to-back and the Spurs’ fifth game in seven days — that could alter the plans.
It’ll be interesting to see if there is any kind of pregame chess match between the teams or they decide to go with all available hands on deck.
Jackson, Perkins partial participants
As the regular season nears its final leg, the biggest issue for the Thunder remains health.
Beyond the uncertainty surrounding Westbrook on a day-to-day basis, three key rotation pieces — Thabo Sefolosha, Kendrick Perkins and Reggie Jackson — are trying to return from recent injuries.
Perkins and Jackson, according to Brooks, participated in small parts of the Thunder’s practice on Monday. Sefolosha did not.
Perkins and Sefolosha have been out since late February with groin and calf strains, respectively. Jackson has been out since last week with a mid-back strain.