Russell Westbrook may be wearing a mask over his swollen cheek, but the All-Star guard said he will play tonight against the Sixers. Making the challenge for a struggling Philly team that much harder. Westbrook has been in fine form recently with three consecutive triple-doubles, becoming the first player to do so since LeBron back in March 2009. On the flip side, Kevin Durant will not be returning tonight but has told various sources that he will no doubt be back in action for the rest of the season.
Even if Westbrook were to not get as many minutes as you’d expect,recently acquired D.J. Augustin has been more than a capable backup in Westbrook’s absence with 18 points and nine assists Sunday, helping Oklahoma avoid a three game winless streak.
The sixers (now 13-47) are looking to avoid a third consecutive loss after falling to Toronto in an eleven point defeat on Monday. Ish Smith had his career high of 19 points and nine assists off the bench and whilst 32 assists created 41 shots, they were unable to capitalise on that season high number and fall short of the mark.
Nerlens Noel continues to silence his critics with a further 17 points and adding yet another player to his block list. The rookie has hit double figures in eight of the last nine games and continues to become an increasingly confident defensive player.
Covington (elbow) and Richardson (knee) are still doubtful after missing Monday evenings contest, but would bring a much needed boost to the squad should they be labelled as match fit.
I can’t really see Philadelphia getting anything out of this. The Thunder are too strong on both sides of the ball and with Westbrook looking to put up some huge numbers again, even Nerlens might have trouble stopping him! But I think the Sixers will put some nice numbers up and work harder on converting chances. 32 assists was a season record, expect more of the same tonight.
Sixers 84- 107 Thunder