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- Thunder All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook will not play tonight. Backup point guard Reggie Jackson will start instead. OKC coach Scott Brooks choosing to sit Westbrook tonight and then play him tomorrow night in Dallas. “He practiced yesterday and looked great,” Brooks said before tonight’s game. “His minutes restrictions are still the same, about 30 a game and then not playing in one game of a back-to-back.” Brooks said several factors go into the decision on which games of a given back-to-back that Westbrook will play and won’t play but he declined to elaborate on exactly what’s involved. A Saturday MRI on Westbrook’s right knee revealed no areas of concern after he and Toronto guard Kyle Lowry banged knees Friday night. “I felt great after the game, but we had to make sure everything was good,” Westbrook said yesterday after practice.
- Oklahoma City is still without starting shooting guard Thabo Sefolosha (strained calf) and starting center Kendrick Perkins (strained groin). Rookies Andre Roberson and Steven Adams will again fill-in. And tonight they will also be without third team center Hasheem Thabeet who is out for personal reasons. The Thunder have had their most injury plagued season since moving to OKC from Seattle. Their normal first unit has only started 20 of the team’s 69 games.
- The Nuggets are also struggling with injuries. Wilson Chandler didn’t play last night because of a strained groin and will also be out tonight, “well I wrote on the board, ‘and then there are nine’,” said Nuggets coach Bryan Shaw a few minutes ago in the back hallway. Jan Vesely is also out tonight after a rib injury last night. Denver has already lost J.J. Hickson, Danilo Gallinari, JaVale McGee and Nate Robinson to season ending injuries.
- Nuggets forward Darrell Arthur has made seven 3s in his last three games. That’s two more than in his previous four NBA seasons.
- After losing their first three games after the All-Star break the Thunder have now won eight of their last 11. The Nuggets have won five of their last seven.
– Randy Renner