John Rohde of the Oklahoman is reporting that Kendrick Perkins will be sitting out tonight against the Golden State Warriors, and Kevin Durant is currently listed as questionable.
Durant reportedly missed the Friday morning shoot-around, with Brooks stating that he had some stomach issues. He is not definitively out at this point, but at the very least it appears that Durant's effectiveness will be limited tonight.
The loss of Perkins should not bother the Thunder too much, since generally speaking he does not play much in fast-tempo games. In the 2/7 game against the Warriors, Perkins logged only 19 minutes. Nazr Mohammed will be starting in his place, and there is the possibility that Cole Aldrich may be called up to fill out the hole at the center position.
Durant's effect may be more dramatic for obvious reasons, especially if the Warriors are able to create another up-tempo game. To Durant's benefit however, the past two games against the Warriors have been bereft of stout defense, so if he can just contribute 25 minutes of offensive ball, it could prove to be a huge help in holding off the Warriors' onslaught.
Thabo Sefolosha continues to be sidelined with a foot injury, so tonight's situation means that potentially three of the Thunder's five starters could be watching instead of playing. It will be more incumbent on Russell Westbrook to create his own offense, and James Harden might very well see a career high in points tonight since he too will need to pick up the slack.
Fortunately for the Thunder, some of their lesser used bench players did get some minutes in these past two games. Aldrich, Ryan Reid, Royal Ivey, and Lazar Hayward all got minutes in the Jazz win, and Ivey proved to be a defensive catalyst in the Thunder's game against the Rockets.
Tonight's game suddenly has a pall cast over it, but you never know who might be ready to emerge. If ever there was an ideal moment for young unproven players to get a shot at big contribution, it would be in a home game against a weak defensive team. It is time for Reggie Jackson, Aldrich, and the rest of the bench crew to step up and prove they deserve the time to contribute.
Also, lest you forget, the Knicks too were at a point of crisis this season when they lost Amare Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony, and Baron Davis for extended time. They were forced to turn to an unknown and unproven kid named Jeremy Lin. Perhaps you've heard how that story turned out.