Without Bazley Thunder Will Have to Get Creative. Plus, Oklahoma City/Spurs Game Thread

Erik Gee

With Darius Bazley due to be re-evaluated in four to six weeks for a right knee bone bruise  Billy Donovan says the Thunder will have to get creative when it comes to their rotations. "We're not going to really necessarily  have a lot of size with Darius being out."..."We had pretty good size with Gallo (Danilo Gallinari), and he at the four spot for us." 

One primary concern for tonight's game is the Spur's second unit.  6-8 250 Rudy Gay is playing power forward off the bench and will present matchup headaches for the Thunder when he is posting up. Donovan is open to the idea of using four guards and going small, but that will leave Oklahoma City vulnerable on the boards.

In the pregame press conference, Donovan mentioned the names of Abdel Nader, Hamidou Diallo (who filled in for Bazley vs. the Celtics) Deonte Burton, and Mike Muscala as possible substatutes for Bazley. Putting my best guess on who will get the bulk of the minutes while Bazley gets healthy, I'd say it's Muscala. Power forward is his natural position, his 6-10 frame gives him the ability to compete for rebounds, and he's a 35 percent shooter from beyond the arc. 

Plus, how would it look to have his jersey retired by his alma mater (Bucknell) and him be sitting on the bench? Come on, do the guy a solid.  

Muscala is not the only person in the Thunder organization who will be honored by their former school this weekend. The University of Florida will dedicate the Gators court in the O'Connell center to Donovan by putting his name on the floor. "I think what when we look back at the people there, my name is going on the court, but there were a lot more people who played a really significant role in that." In his 19 years at Florida, Donovan won two National Championships and went to four Final Fours. 

Thunder/ Spurs tonight at 7 on Fox Sports Oklahoma. Just click the comment button below and join our conversation.      

First Quarter:  

One hundred percent convinced that the in house announcer at the Peake loves saying Luguentz Dort in the starting five. It has to be his favorite name of any player to wear Thunder blue. 

Adams gets the Thunder on the board with a quick two. The ball moment is right for the first two possessions. 

Despite only two points, Oklahoma City is doing an excellent job of getting the ball to Adams early. Adams has touched the ball on every possession. He also sinks two free-throws. 4-2 Thunder with 10:03 left in the quarter. 

Trey Lyles with four points as Spurs takes a 6-4 lead.  Chris Paul ties it up with a long two. 

Lonnie Walker with a nice steal. Spurs up four 10-6.  Now, 10-8 after a Gallinari two.  Spurs take a timeout.  7:16 to go in the first quarter. 

Noel in for Adams, rest of the starting five still on the floor.  Noel picks up his first foul. Aldridge hits both free-throws. 12-8 San Antonio. 

Paul makes it a one-point game. 12-11.  

Muscala comes in for Noel, who already has three fouls. 

Muscala picks up his first foul. At this rate, the Thunder will have to go small, or Adams will have to play the whole game.  Nader and Ferguson.  Gallinari has his three-point field goal overturned to a two. 20-13 Spurs. 

Diallo in for OKC, Muscala is playing the five. Have to wonder if that was Billy Donovan’s original plan before Noel got into to foul trouble.

25-13 Spurs with 1:10 left. Adams back in. 

“I don’t wanna say anything about these refs, they got a tough job, but tat’s a terrible call.”

25-14 at the end of one Oklahoma City shooting 23.3 percent from the field and 1/6 from three.  Bench being outscored 9-1.  Thunder hasn’t looked this bad since early November. 

Second Quarter:

Chris Paul with 7 points 1 of 2 from three. Mike Muscala in at the five again, and nails a three to cut the Spurs lead to 34-24. 

Thunder with three consecutive makes from beyond the arc. Muscala, Paul, and Schroder. It’s now 34-26 Spurs. 

 Thunder way more active on defense. Paul, with a rebound at midcourt, then finishes with the assist to Nader. After a sloppy first quarter Oklahoma City outscoring San Antonio 14-9 in the second. 

Fans wanted Aldridge called for an offensive foul on Ferguson. Not sure the elbow he threw was as hard as the Peake crowd thought it was. 

Thunder cut the lead to single digits before the half. 49-41. Oklahoma City with a 27-24 advantage in the second. Chris Paul with 15 points in 15 minutes of play. 

Third Quarter:

Not even 14 seconds into the third and Steven Adams gets tagged with a foul. Trae Lyles hits the free-throws and it’s 51-41 Spurs. 

9:28 55-47 Spurs, staring five still in the game. Bryn Forbes picks up his third foul.  

Gilgeous-Alexander makes it a one-point game after a three. Gallinari turns the ball over after OKC could have taken the lead. 

Adams dinged for his third foul. If you’re keeping track both Noel and Adams each have three fouls. Noel into the game. 

Dort out after picking up a foul. Schroder in with 4:53 left in the third. Thunder trail by one after a Paul two. 64-63. 

Thunder just can’t get that key stop on defense. Lyles picks up his fourth foul and yes, Michael Cage thought that was a tough call to make. 

70-65 Spurs. 2:53 left in the quarter. 

Nader, Diallo and Ferguson in. Nader with the and one.  

We go to the fourth quarter with the Thunder trailing by two. 79-77. 

Thunder shooting 40 percent from the floor and three. There has been one lead change. 

Fourth Quarter:

Diallo ties things up at 79 to start the fourth. 

Thunder had a chance to take the lead, but have come away empty on the last couple of possessions, now trail 83-79. 

It feels like the Celtics are still beating Oklahoma City or at least it did in the first quarter.  Now it feels like the Thunder are playing a little too desperate on the offensive end. 88-79 Spurs.