The OKC Thunder will play the Portland Trail Blazers in their final scrimmage with several players from both sides out injured or resting.
Having played the Portland Trail Blazers on four occasions this season many wondered what precisely Billy Donovan could glean from this matchup. The OKC Thunder bench boss had stated every scrimmage session offered something new for his squad to learn. Or it afforded the Thunder an opportunity to work on a specific section of their system.
In our Thunderous Intentions preview, I noted hopes Billy Donovan would rest Chris Paul. Especially after witnessing how chippy the Blazers got in their last outing versus the Raptors. Although Toronto coach said they weren’t that chippy but more “handsy” it still only takes one slap at a wrist or hand and BOOM a player has a fracture or injury to deal with, which is the last thing the OKC Thunder need in their final scrimmage.
As it turns out there are several players not playing today for both sides.
For the OKC Thunder:
- Chris Paul
- Nerlens Noel
- Abdel Nader
- Terrance Ferguson
Paul is likely just for rest (and safety). Noel is still dealing with the ankle he tweaked but the reason he won’t play is that he missed taking his COVID-19 daily test. Noel joins Kristaps Porzingis and Paul Millsap as players who’ve committed this infraction and for it will serve a one day quarantine.
Nader is in the concussion protocol. And, Ferguson has a leg contusion — which might explain why he hasn’t been very aggressive in either of his outings despite limited minutes in each.
And for those who’ve enjoyed the return of Andre Roberson – you’ll get plenty of him today as he starts for the Thunder!
For the Portland Trail Blazers:
- Damian Lillard
- CJ McCollum
- several players will be limited in playing time.
More from Thunderous Intentions
- OKC Thunder: 3 season goals for Mike Muscala in 2020-21
- Why the OKC Thunder signed Josh Hall to a two-way deal
- OKC Thunder: NBA issues 134-page COVID-19 health and safety protocols
- OKC Thunder: 3 season goals for Justin Jackson in 2020-21
- OKC Thunder gain tax exemption and pick for facilitating Gallinari sign and trade
Damian Lillard is dealing with swelling on the bottom of his foot. McCollum is being held out as far as we know just for rest.
Zach Collins, Hassan Whiteside, and Nassir Little will all play limited minutes.
Portland is one of the five teams chasing the eighth and ninth seeds so every one of their eight seeding games is important. They open the season restart on Friday, facing the team everyone is chasing in a match versus the Memphis Grizzlies.
Therefore, none of these moves by Terry Stotts is that surprising.
For the Blazers All-Star backcourt to be out it doesn’t offer an opportunity to attack the strength of Portland’s offense. Then again at this stage of the process, Donovan and his squad will likely be happy to just get in some reps and work on execution.
Enjoy the game.