Forward Danilo Gallinari will sit for a second straight game and will also miss the Thunder's upcoming road trip to Charlotte and Toronto. Gallinari is still dealing with soreness in his left ankle, which caused him to miss Oklahoma City's win over the Clippers on Sunday.
Billy Donovan says nothing new has happened he thinks that leaving Gallinari behind on this trip will give him some time to rest and get treatment. Donovan isn't concerned about Gallinari's ankle structurally. This is a precautionary move to make sure that he is feeling better for the Thunder's upcoming schedule, which has them playing back to backs or every other day through the end of January. As to when the Thunder would like him to return, I was told it all depends on how he is feeling. Gallinari missed one other game this season with an ankle sprain back on December 9th, when the Thunder were in Salt Lake City.
Rookie Darius Bazley started for Gallinari on Sunday and will likely get the call again tonight. Bazley had seven points in 25 minutes on three of five shooting with eight rebounds against the Clippers. Donovan says, "He's handled himself well, I think these opportunities will be invaluable going forward."..."He's competing; he's playing with really good energy and motor." Donovan feels comfortable with Bazley on the floor and thinks that he will grow from getting the chance to start.
With Bazley getting the start, that means more time for Mike Muscala coming off the bench. Before the season, Donovan envisioned Muscala more as a center than a power forward. Donovan has been encouraged by the minutes that Muscala is getting at the four "he's extremely reliable; he's very smart." Donovan also says that Muscala knows who he is as a player and can follow game plans.
Thunder/Grizzlies tonight at 7 on Fox Sports Oklahoma