- The Thunder remain without center Kendrick Perkins, who is absent in the wake of his grandfather’s death. Rookie Steven Adams started last night against the Clippers and recorded seven points and four rebounds in 21 minutes.
- Oklahoma City will have the use of power forward Serge Ibaka, who was ejected after tangling with Clippers forward Matt Barnes during the loss Wednesday. Ibaka appears to have escaped further punishment for the skirmish.
- With Perkins unavailable and the Warriors featuring a healthy David Lee-Andrew Bogut tandem up front this season, the time could be ripe for Oklahoma City to unleash more of Kevin Durant at the 4, in search of a defensive mismatch to exploit. “Tonight might give us more opportunities, because of the way they play,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said of the Durant-as-power-foward plan. “But we’ve always been a team that could match up (against) small ball or physical basketball.” If Oklahoma City does go that route, expect Golden State to counter by switching Lee’s assignment to Thabo Sefolosha.
- Andre Iguodala will cover Durant at the outset, although Warriors coach Mark Jackson isn’t laying the job of stopping a 30.6-point-per-night scorer on one man. “We will trust not just an individual to defend Kevin Durant, because I know how that ends,” Jackson said. “We will trust our team concepts and try to put him in a position to be successful.”
- For the second straight game, the rested Warriors draw a team finishing up a back-to-back. That worked out pretty well for Golden State on Tuesday, when the Warriors blew out to a 19-point lead after one quarter.
- Recent history, though, has gone Oklahoma City’s way in this matchup. The Thunder have won seven of the past eight from the Warriors, scoring an average of 114.6 points while doing it.
– Geoff Lepper