The Oklahoma City Thunder will welcome the Los Angeles Lakers into Chesapeake Energy Arena tonigh
Thunder superstar Kevin Durant, who is the reigning league MVP, recently took a step back in his rehabilitation from a foot injury. Per Royce Young of ESPN, Durant was “removed from basketball activities” and is currently flirting with missing the remainder of the season according to Thunder general manager Sam Presti.
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The injury-ridden Thunder are still hanging on to the eighth seed, two and a half games ahead of the ninth seeded Phoenix Suns and three games ahead of the New Orleans Pelicans. This is a must win for them, as they are playing against an eliminated Lakers team who has nothing to lose.
Despite being eliminated from playoff contention, the Lakers are still playing hard, with a lot of energy and effort. At this point, the Lakers season has turned into player evaluations as more than half the players are fighting for new contracts.
This will be the final game between the Lakers and Thunder, with Oklahoma City taking the first two meetings.
Oklahoma City is 40-30, heading into tonight’s contest and has won three in a row while trying to hold on to the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Lakers, losers of four of their last five, are 18-50.
All-star and MVP candidate Russell Westbrook leads The Thunder, averaging an NBA-best 27.5 points per game to go along with 8.7 assists 7.3 rebounds and 2.18 steals per game. Enes Kanter (14.8 ppg, 8.4 rpg), Dion Waiters (11.5 ppg) and Anthony Murrow (10.2 ppg) are also among the Thunder’s league-leaders.
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The Lakers are led by Jordan Hill’s 12.3 points and eight rebounds per game. Carlos Boozer averages 12.2 points and seven boards and Jeremy Lin is good for 11.1 points and 4.7 assists a night.
The Lakers are 0-2 against the Thunder this season and have lost three straight and six of the last seven meetings between the teams.