Though OKC guard Thabo Sefolosha remains day-to-day with a sore right foot, he could return to action for Tuesday night's home game against Utah, barring a setback.
Thunder coach Scott Brooks confirmed Sefolosha will not lose his starting role due to injury.
“I like Thabo as a starter,” said a smiling Brooks. “Yeah, he's the starter. Right away? Who knows? We have to see where his conditioning is. If he's totally healthy? Absolutely. We hope that he feels better every day.”
Sefolosha received treatment throughout the entire five-game road trip and said the foot is feeling much better, but he still was not healthy to even attempt to play to his standards.
More than half of Brooks' pregame interviews centered on his team's turnover woes. OKC ranks last in the NBA, averaging 17.0 turnovers.
“It's definitely talked about how we can cut down our turnovers, to put ourselves in better positions,” Brooks explained. “Some of our turnovers are just across the board, just careless or forced – dribbling, making bad passes, sloppy. We have to just keep it simple and make the simple plays. We have to do that more consistently and not go for home-run plays and spectacular plays, but we're all growing tired of seeing it.”
Brooks was still tired of seeing it early in Friday night's game at Utah. The Thunder committed seven turnovers in the first quarter alone, resulting in eight Jazz points. Utah, meanwhile, committed just one turnover.
By halftime, OKC had 11 turnovers, yet led 49-44.
IN THE STARS
The Thunder's two All-Stars, forward Kevin Durant and point guard Russell Westbrook, are among the NBA's elite, yet lead their team in turnovers.
Entering Friday's game, Westbrook led the league with 118 turnovers. Durant had the fifth most with 97.
Westbrook and Durant combined to commit all six Thunder turnovers in the final period of a 106-101 loss at Sacramento on Thursday night.
“It starts with me,” Durant said. “I can't even get a ball away, man. It's frustrating to me because I'm supposed to be the leader of this team. That type of stuff is contagious, you know.”
Thunder forward Serge Ibaka speaks several languages fluently, but English isn't one of them.
Ibaka struggled to explain how he was able to tie a career-high with 10 blocked shots Thursday night at Sacramento, but his message turned out to be quite simple, not matter what the language.
“Sometimes I get blocks. Sometimes I get fouls, you know? That's what it is,” Ibaka said. “Every time they (opposing players) drive, I need to be there.”
On Thursday, Ibaka became just the second player in the last 14 years to record multiple 10-plus block games in a single season, joining Marcus Camby (2007-08).
On Friday, Utah's first shot attempt of the game was blocked by Ibaka.
Despite having a rare opportunity to take an entire weekend off, Brooks said he will fight off the temptation.
“I thought about that, but no,” Brooks said. “Two days is a lot of days, but I thought about it.”
The team was scheduled to return to OKC around 4 a.m. Saturday. The team will return to practice Sunday and Monday before Tuesday's 7 p.m. game against Utah at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
By that time, the Thunder will have played just one home game in a span of 20 days.
OKC will play at Houston on Wednesday and then return home for five straight games before the All-Star break.
The Jazz has a brutal schedule. While the Thunder has back-to-back games against Utah four days apart, the Jazz will be completing a back-to-back-back stretch that's all on the road – at Memphis, at New Orleans and at OKC.