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.
Durant humbled by talk with assistant
An infuriated Kevin Durant was ticked off at the Thunder’s play right after the All-Star break. And so was basically everyone associated with the team.
But according to a recent story uncovered by NBA.com’s David Aldridge, Durant was particularly peeved. And it was seeping into his everyday attitude.
That is, until Thunder assistant Brian Keefe sat Durant down and basically told him to get over himself.
“That was probably one of the most realest conversations I've had with a coach, ever,” Durant told NBA.com. “He let me know how bad I was — my body language, my attitude. I just decided to look at myself and self-evaluate. And he was right. I had to change how I was thinking, how I was acting toward my teammates. Everything.”
Kevin Durant named Western Conference player of the month
Surprise, surprise: Kevin Durant was named Western Conference Player of the Month for March.
It's the fourth time he has won it this season (in five opportunities) and 10th time in his career. Durant averaged 34.5 points, 6.7 rebounds and 5.9 assists in March. The Thunder went 10-4.
Bobcats center Al Jefferson won the award in the East.
Steven Adams on the Thunder’s upcoming game with the Spurs and a matchup with Tim Duncan: “It should be fun. I find every game fun. This should be more fun.”
Stat of the night
Carmelo Anthony, currently second in the race for the scoring title, would need to average 74.8 points per game over his final seven (524 points total) to catch Durant’s current 32.18 points-per-game pace.