With three guards sidelined by injuries, the Thunder will use James Harden, Thabo Sefolosha and possibly Kevin Durant as the backup point guard tonight. Kyle Weaver, who filled the role Tuesday at Utah, suffered a separated shoulder in practice Wednesday and will be sidelined indefinitely. Kevin Ollie (knee) was encouraged by results from an MRI but was to meet with team officials before determining whether arthroscopic surgery is necessary. Shaun Livingston recently underwent arthroscopic knee surgery and will be sidelined another two or three weeks. Power forward Nick Collison (knee) will miss his third consecutive game but could return soon once swelling subsides. On Thursday, the Thunder signed free-agent point guard Mike Wilks.
Sefolosha’s impactBecause he doesn’t rank high in "defensive” categories like blocked shots or steals, Sefolosha probably won’t get serious consideration for the league’s All-Defensive team. Sefolosha, though, has played well guarding stars like Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade. Sefolosha held Utah point guard Deron Williams to 1-of-5 shooting in the second half of Wednesday’s win. The most revealing stat is the Thunder is 18-25 in games Sefolosha has started since he was acquired in a deadline deal with Chicago last February.
Durant in select groupScoring 28 points in Tuesday’s win, Durant has 407 points in 15 games. Only three NBA players in league history scored 400 or more points the first 15 games of a season at age 21 or younger — LeBron James (twice), Shaquille O’Neal and Michael Jordan.
Late startESPN picked up tonight’s game as the back end of its Friday night doubleheader. Tipoff has been changed to 8:30 p.m. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. The game is close to a sellout. The final 200 tickets will be available with 50 to be raffled off and 150 to be sold. Team officials are encouraging fans to wear Thunder blue.
Sampson reunionFormer OU coach Kelvin Sampson said he needed 50 tickets for tonight’s game. The Bucks assistant planned to meet with friends and some former players, including Tim Heskett and Renzi Stone, who both recently had new additions to their families. "It’s always neat to come back and see friends,” Sampson said. "I have nothing but wonderful memories at OU. It was a great time not only in my life in terms of my career but great times for my family. Both of my kids went to elementary and middle school there, graduated from Norman High and they’re both OU graduates.” And his thoughts of the local NBA team? "The Thunder is really good,” Sampson said. "I really like what they’re doing. They have a lot of really good, young players and are playing well defensively.”
Toy DriveAnyone who brings an unwrapped toy to tonight’s game for the Salvation Army Angel Tree program will receive a voucher for two free tickets to an upcoming game. Team officials are hosting a pregame block party with live music on Reno Avenue beginning at 5:30 p.m.