The Oklahoma City Thunder will continue their homestand, hosting the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday. This will be the first game under the new “Bally Sports” umbrella when you are searching across the TV dial. The Thunder will enter this game short-handed, as are the Raptors in this game.
The OKC Thunder will be without Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, as he continues to nurse his foot injury, Darius Bazley is still sidelined with a knee injury, while Lu Dort is still in concussion protocol. Mike Muscala is listed as out with an ankle injury. Those injuries were expected, but on Wednesday afternoon, the team added two more to the injury report. Aleksej Pokusevski, who has played very well in the second half of the season, is listed as OUT due to health and safety protocols.
Ty Jerome is also tabbed as questionable due to an ankle injury. The Thunder might want to slow-play Ty Jerome’s injury, due to an ankle injury dooming the first half of his season until the G-League Bubble. The last thing the team would want is to have yet another setback with Ty Jerome’s ankle injury.
For the Toronto Raptors, they will be without Kyle Lowry is OUT with a right leg infection. Patrick McCaw, Paul Watson, Jalen Harris, and DeAndre Bembry are all listed as OUT as well. Each team will be incredibly short-handed.
The Thunder will be down at least five players, with a sixth in Ty Jerome still in flux. The Thunder have also, of course, shut down Al Horford, and since converting Moses Brown to a full-time deal is down a two-way spot which would have been an additional body to use. That is prior to even mentioning Darius Miller and Justin Jackson not getting any minutes in the second half of the season.
The Thunder, despite the injury news on both sides, is still 7.5 point underdogs. With the Raptors’ recent struggles, and the Thunder’s ability to hang around in games and be that scrappy, annoying effort team, that OKC +7.5 will hit. The Moneyball pick of the day is Theo Maledon to light it up from beyond the arc.
What Mark Daigneault decides to do with the starting lineup will be incredible. The only players he absolutely has available are Theo Maledon, Svi Mykhailiuk, Kenrich Williams, Josh Hall, Darius Miller, Justin Jackson, Isaiah Roby, Tony Bradley, and Moses Brown. My guess for the starters would be Theo Maledon, Svi Mykhailiuk, Kenrich Williams, Isaiah Roby, and Moses Brown. However, watch out for the possibility that Josh Hall sneaks into the starting five.
The story will be updated with quotes from Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault when he addresses those of us in the media prior to tip-off.
Mark Daigneault announced that Shai Gilgeous-Alexander will be sidelined through mid-April, saying that “Mid-April” will be the next time the Thunder re-evaluate their star guard, which serves as the next “touchpoint.” for SGA. That is simply a re-evaluation date, not a return to play date.
Mark Daigneault announced the starters for Oklahoma City will be: Theo Maledon, Svi Mykhailiuk, Kenrich Williams, Isaiah Roby, Moses Brown.
Mark Daigneault praised Justin Jackson’s bench presence, how supportive he has been from the sidelined. a trait I pointed out on Locked on Thunder today.