Muscala Not on Injury Report, Plus Three Things to Watch vs. the Wizards
Muscala Healthy, Does Adams Play?
As of Saturday at 4:30 Central, Mike Muscala is not listed on the Thunder injury report. Dennis Schroder, who is with his family, is out for personal reasons, and Steven Adams has a lower left leg contusion.
Muscala will be a welcome addition to Oklahoma CIty's rotation. With both he and Adams sidelined on Friday, Billy Donovan was forced to play Darius Bazley and Kevin Hervey at center. As a result, the Grizzlies outrebounded the Thunder 58-36 and outscored them in the paint 56-36.
Not only do Thunder need Muscala to help out on the boards, but they also need his 36 percent three-point shooting. Aside from the first quarter on Friday, when they shot 54 percent, Oklahoma City was abysmal from beyond the arc going 13/43 and missing wide-open looks.
Terrance Ferguson is back and played six minutes vs. Memphis if Adams can go, the Thunder will be as close to having their full roster since the second scrimmage of the restart.
Wizards Playing Spoiler
Because of their loss to the Pelicans, the Wizards are eliminated from the postseason. Scott Brooks's team now has three games left to work on next year and against the Thunder play spoiler.
Brooks doesn't seem like the vengeful type, but if he can keep the Thunder from having a better shot of advancing in the playoffs, then, that's sweet payback for being let go in the final year of your contract. This game will be more about how Oklahoma City plays than anything the Wizards will throw at them.
Everything that went wrong against Memphis (except the injuries) is fixable; starting with the intensity level. Dennis Schroder is a significant loss, but the Thunder can't use his absence as an excuse to come out flat.
Ball movement, rebounding, putting up quality shots, and dictating the pace of play is on you, not your opponent. The Nuggets gave Oklahoma City some help by beating the Jazz; now, the Thunder must show some killer instinct and take care of the Wizards the way they did the Lakers.
Shai Gilgous-Alexander's Growth At Point Guard
The Thunder's leading scorer was having a rough go of it the last couple of games. Even though he's struggling to score from the field, Gilgeous-Alexander was able to affect the Lakers game by getting to the foul line where he went 6/6 and got the majority of his points.
Donovan needs Gilgeous-Alexander to keep his teammates involved in the offense and become more of a distributor while maintaining his 19 points per game average. Gilgeous-Alexander is getting his first taste of being the face of the organization, and while it's coming with challenges, he seems to be handling it as well as you can expect.
It's ok to be alarmed by the Thunder's inconsistency in the first four games of the restart. Still, they have proven to be resilient Gilgeous-Alexander is one of the reasons for the Thunder being in a position to finish fourth in the West. If he shows he can run this team on his own, it will make it easier for Sam Presti to trade Chirs Paul if there is an offer put on the table.
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With more than 20 years of experience hosting local and national radio shows, Erik Gee is a fixture of Oklahoma sports media. He has covered the Oklahoma City Thunder for the past six seasons. He is also the co-host of the Pat Jones show on 97.1 The Sports Animal in Tulsa.