Is Shai Gilgeous-Alexander playing tonight? Latest updates for Thunder vs Kings
The OKC Thunder finish off week 19 of gameplay by hosting the Sacramento Kings who just registered 176 points against the best version of the defensive-minded Clippers.
In their last match, OKC battled in Phoenix as prior cornerstone Kevin Durant played spectator catching his former team from the Suns’ bench.
Oddsmakers and analysts all expected a Suns victory but the Thunder youngsters didn’t make it easy on Phoenix taking the lead occasionally and erasing double-digit deficits on several occasions.
Standout Isaiah Joe registered a career-best 28 points while continuing his blistering accuracy from deep (6 of 12). Josh Giddey dished some pretty dimes but had a cold offensive night perhaps due to the extra attention he drew without Shai Gilgeous-Alexander on the floor.
The resulting effect of not having SGA meant the Thunder didn’t have their typical go-to guy at the end of shot clocks or in clutch time. Even with the All-Star playing the OKC Thunder has struggled to close out tight games. Young teams go through growing pains in some form or another and clutch time is their Achilles heel.
Will Shai Gilgeous-Alexander play versus Sacramento Kings on Feb. 26th?
Per the most recent NBA Official injury report Shai Gilgeous-Alexander will NOT play versus the Kings as he continues to deal with right ankle soreness and an abdominal strain.
That means the Thunder will need others to step up to replace SGA’s 31 points, 4.7 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 1.6 steals, and 1.1 blocks per game averages.
Clearly, his scoring is the area they’re missing the most especially at the end of shot clocks or when the team needs a momentum change. Joe is likely to get the starting nod as his replacement.
OKC Thunder full injury report vs. Sacramento Kings on Feb. 26th
Per usual Chet Holmgren (right foot surgery) and Aleksej Pokusevski (left tibial plateau; non-displaced fracture) will be cheerleading from the bench as they rehab from serious injuries.
A trio of youngsters is also out with the OKC Blue including both Two-Way players -Olivier Sarr and Lindy Waters III as well as Ousmane Dieng who is on assignment.
Sacramento lists only one player out — KZ Okpala who is not with the Kings at the moment.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s injury history
In his rookie season, SGA played all 82 games and followed that up with his inaugural season with the OKC Thunder playing 70 games.
With the team restructuring (read: tanking) the last two seasons his participation decreased although in fairness he was dealing with a myriad of injuries. How many would’ve kept him off the hardcourt if the Thunder were playoff contenders is the unanswered question.
In 2020-21 he played 35 games and last season he appeared in 56 games before the team shut him down. SGA’s ailments have run the gamut from hip, calf, shoulder, foot, concussion, quad, and ankle tweaks.
However, the most serious of his injuries was the plantar fasciitis that we know was an issue because it also kept him out of the Canadian Team program when they were actively vying to gain a berth in the Olympics.
Next 5 opponents for the OKC Thunder
Entering this match the OKC Thunder have lost two games in a row including the overtime heartbreaker in Utah and the game in Phoenix on Friday.
As they slide further away from .500 they are also watching their dreams of nabbing a play-in berth slip away.
Perhaps this is all part of a quiet front office stretch run tanking strategy but as my cohort Rylan Stiles notes – SGA wouldn’t have passed up the game versus Phoenix given the national exposure that would come with it plus he’s way too invested in winning. That means it’s unlikely this is a premeditated decision to start resting SGA – rather he’s genuinely hurt.
One reason to stay invested to the play-in belief for the Thunder is they’ll play the seventh easiest strength of schedule to close the season (fourth easiest in the West).
Here is a look at the next five games for the Thunder:
- Wednesday, March 1st vs. Los Angeles Lakers at 7:00 p.m. CT
- Friday, March 3rd vs. Utah Jazz at 7:00 p.m. CT (front game of a baseball set)
- Sunday, March 5th vs. Utah Jazz at 6:00 p.m. CT (back end of a baseball set)
- Tuesday, March 7th vs. Golden State Warriors at 7:00 p.m. CT (front side of a back-to-back)
- Wednesday, March 8th at Phoenix at 8:00 p.m. CT (completion of a back-to-back)