If you weren’t already worrying about the Oklahoma City Thunder’s playoff chances, now is definitely the time. Kevin Durant will not play in tonight’s measuring stick game against the New Orleans Pelicans due to a sprained big toe.
Though most point to the eighth-place Phoenix Suns as the team Oklahoma City should worry about most in its quest to rebound from early season injuries, it’s unwise to discount Anthony Davis and the Pelicans entirely. New Orleans is 26-22, just one game behind Phoenix in the standings and two up on the Thunder after winning seven of its past 10 contests.
Davis is healthy and playing like the MVP front-runner. Eric Gordon has rediscovered the off-dribble juice that once made him a potential star. Tyreke Evans is playing as well as he has in years. And the team’s leaky defense has been stingy of late despite Jrue Holiday being sidelined.
Make no mistake – the Pelicans are a threat to the Thunder despite their up-and-comer status. Oklahoma City doesn’t need to win tonight’s game, but doing so would go a long way towards easing concerns gleaned from its substandard recent performance.
Obviously, that will be much harder to do without the reigning MVP in tow. For sake of the Thunder and the league in general, here’s hoping Durant – who will miss his fourth game due to this most recent injury – is healthy enough to play in the second half of these teams’ home-and-home on Friday night.
What do you think?
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.