For the second consecutive game, Steven Adams will be forced to take a seat due to a right calf contusion.
Adams injured his calf on a play late in the fourth quarter against the Nuggets in Denver last Thursday, and although his role is one that cannot be easily replaced, rookie Dakari Johnson did a solid job filling in on Friday night against the Clippers. Johnson will get the start again tonight. In 23 minutes on Friday, he scored 9 points on 3-5 shooting from the floor while also picking up two assists, a rebound, steal, and a block. He also played solid defense on DeAndre Jordan.
Along with Adams, Carmelo Anthony will miss his first game of the season with a sore back. There are no details at this time as to how he sustained the injury or how long he will be out, but it is likely nothing major and simply a precaution by the Thunder.
The starting power forward position has yet to be announced, but it is safe to assume that it will be either Patrick Patterson or Jerami Grant. Patterson has not offered the Thunder much this season, averaging 2.3 points on 28.6% shooting from the floor in just 14.3 minutes per game, but his veteran leadership could factor into head coach Billy Donovan’s decision. Jerami Grant, on the other hand, has been one of the most consistent players for the Thunder lately, averaging 8.6 points while shooting 46.7% from the field along with 4.0 rebounds in just 23.1 minutes per game.
Whoever Donovan chooses to go with, the Thunder should fare just fine in tonight’s game against a low-quality opponent like the Mavericks. Dallas is tied for the league’s worst record at 2-11, and it is better to ere on the side of caution with injuries. While a win should come easy, Oklahoma City needs to stay focused from start to finish, or else they could find themselves with another embarrassing loss.
Jerami Grant will start in place of the injured Carmelo Anthony.
Article written by Zack Low. Follow @TheThunderGuys on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.