LeBron has company on sideline – OKC Thunder vs Lakers latest injury update

OKC Thunder forwards Kenrich Williams and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl defend LA Lakers forward Anthony Davis): Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
OKC Thunder forwards Kenrich Williams and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl defend LA Lakers forward Anthony Davis): Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /

Irony abounds as tonight’s match for the OKC Thunder features two teams with some of the easiest closing schedules but are equally struggling due to injury.

In fact, these two clubs have a ton in common where it matters and are different enough fortunately for OKC where it really matters (the future).

First of all, as noted above the Thunder have the fourth easiest strength of schedule remaining while the Lakers have the third easiest itinerary. Only the Cavaliers and Grizzlies have an easier stretch run remaining.

Both clubs are vying to secure a playoff or play-in seed and each is currently residing outside that window. LA moved past the Thunder on the weekend to sit on the 12th rung while the Thunder dropped to 13th a half-game back of the Lakers, a game back of the 11th-ranked Blazers, and 1.5 games back of the final play-in seed currently held by the Pelicans.

Additionally, both clubs are missing their best players but the news bomb dropped late in the day offers some hits for both sides. In particular, the Lakers took the roughest blow…

Will Shai Gilgeous-Alexander play versus Sacramento Kings on March 1st?

The OKC Thunder cornerstone will miss his fourth consecutive match as he deals with right ankle soreness and an abdominal strain. And, if that weren’t enough for the rising star to be dealing with he’s also in health and safety protocols.

SGA got hurt in the match versus the Utah Jazz as they fell by just a single point.  That began the losing streak which is now at four games.

Without the cornerstone, the Thunder has battled but SGA’s presence is sorely missed considering he offers averages of 31 points, 4.7 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 1.6 steals, and 1.1 blocks per game.

Who’ll join LeBron James on the sidelines?

Without LeBron, the Lakers already had their backs against the wall but the most recent NBA official injury update is shocking given who’ll miss tonight’s match.

Specifically, the guy needed to shoulder the load will be out  — Anthony Davis. The reason listed is a stress injury in his right foot. Albeit, some ill-informed suggested it was his neck and the Jaren Jackson Jr. dunk over him where he appeared to make contact with AD’s neck.

This follows his exceptional game on Tuesday versus the Grizzlies. Davis delivered a massive double-double of 28 points and 19 rebounds plus also blocked five shots.  Albeit, the Lakers still lost to Memphis but it was presumed AD would have his way tonight in OKC until Shams channeled Woj with this late-afternoon news bomb…

In spite of his big night, the Lakers still lost to the Grizzlies. LA added depth to their roster at the trade deadline and in the buyout market, but the three main players are all out as they’ll also be missing the other key cog — D’Angelo Russell who continues to recover from a right ankle sprain.

LA’s two-way players Scotty Pippen Jr. and Cole Swider are also listed as out with their G League squad.

OKC Thunder full injury report vs. Los Angeles Lakers, March 1st

Two players who’ve been playing the role of bench cheerleaders remain sidelined — rookie Chet Holmgren and Aleksej Pokusevski. Holmgren will redshirt this season following surgery to repair his Lisfranc fracture.

POKU also suffered a fracture (left tibial plateau; non-displaced fracture) and per Mark Daigneault updates, is on pace for his initial return projections.

In addition to the above trio of SGA, Chet, and POKU two other OKC Thunder players are out with one, a bit of a gut punch — Kenrich Williams is out due to a left wrist sprain while Ousmane Dieng is on assignment with the OKC Blue.

Next 5 opponents for the OKC Thunder

As noted, the losing streak is now at four and the OKC Thunder will be seeking to end that streak. That prospect looks to be easier now given they’ll face a team with a ton of great role players but no one who could be considered the go-to guy.

Still, the Thunder not having SGA or Kenrich hurts albeit they’ve still got Josh Giddey, Lu Dort, Isaiah Joe, JDub and JWill who have proven they’re up to the task in prior matches.

Ultimately if the Thunder can win this match they won’t just get the satisfaction of stopping the losing streak they’ll also win the season series.

Remember, the Thunder defeated the Lakers in LA on LeBron’s historic night and the teams only play three times this season. That’s extremely significant especially if things come down to a tiebreaker situation at season end.

If the OKC Thunder are serious about making it into the play-in tournament winning tonight would at least give them a better shot with that tiebreaker in hand and once again seeded ahead of LA.

Here is a look at the next five games for the Thunder:

  • 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)
  • Saturday, March 11th at New Orleans at 7:30 pm CT

dark. Next. A cautionary tale for the OKC Thunder and developing teams