Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant out with injury, putting Oklahoma City Thunder in uncharted territory


BOSTON – For the first time in the 492-game history of the Oklahoma City Thunder, they will play without Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.

With Westbrook already sidelined with a knee injury, a sore shoulder will prevent Durant from playing tonight against the Boston Celtics.

“It’s going to be weird,” Kendrick Perkins said.

Thunder coach Scott Brooks wouldn’t speculate whether Durant will miss more than tonight’s game, but he said Perry Jones will start in Durant’s place.

Oklahoma City has been worse offensively, better defensively and only slightly worse overall with Durant on the bench this season, but those Durant-less minutes were obviously carefully chosen. The Thunder’s starting lineup tonight – Reggie Jackson, Thabo Sefolosha, Jones, Serge Ibaka and Perkins – has played just two minutes together this season.

“We have more than enough to compete,” Brooks said. “An old coach of mine, ‘All you need is five.’ And we have five guys.”

This is Jones’ third-career start, his second in place of Durant. In Oklahoma City’s final regular-season game last year, Jones had 14 points and nine rebounds as Durant rested.

“It’s his chance to show us, the coaches and the rest of the NBA what he can do,” Perkins said of Jones.

But Perkins also offered a warning.

“When one of your leaders goes out like Kevin who’s been averaging all these points, everybody thinks they’ve got to step up,” Perkins said. “No, the thing is you just do what you do, but do it a little bit better. So, that doesn’t mean go out and take more shots and stuff like that. It means run your offense harder. It means play better defense. Just give yourself a chance.”

PBT Extra: How did Thunder, Pacers move up in PBT Power Rankings?

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As they do every Monday during the season, the PBT Power Rankings came out and while the top three remained the same there were some climbers.

Specifically, the Thunder at No. 4 and the Pacers at No. 5.

Why they are there is the latest PBT Extra topic with Jenna Corrado. The simple answer is they are both excellent teams. Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and Paul George are all playing like Top 10 players.

PBT Podcast: We’re back talking Kobe, 76ers, Warriors, Pistons, more

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The ProBasketballTalk NBA podcast is back.

Sure we’re a month into the season, but we’re going to get this podcast rolling again and you can expect us on each Monday and Thursday, with a variety of guests talking everything around the NBA.

Today NBC’s own Dan Feldman joins Kurt Helin to talk Kobe Bryant‘s retirement announcement, and what that means both for the Lakers going forward this season and beyond, but also what that could mean for Byron Scott’s future as the Lakers’ coach.

We also delve into the “showdown” between the Lakers and Sixers on Thursday, talk about the job Brett Brown is doing there as coach (a good one), we talk some Warriors, some Draymond Green, Pistons, Spurs and Pacers to round it all out.

Listen to the podcast below or you can listen and subscribe via iTunes.


Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins probable to play against Dallas Monday

DeMarcus Cousins
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It’s this simple: The Sacramento Kings are 5-5 when DeMarcus Cousins plays this season, 1-7 when he sits. (And that win number is a big misleading, they looked like they would have beaten Charlotte with him, but when he left with back pain they lost, they could easily be 6-4 with him.)

So it’s good news that Cousins is expected to return to the Sacramento lineup Monday night. Well not good for Rick Carlisle and the Mavericks, but good for the Kings, as reported by James Ham at CSNBayArea,com.

This season Cousins is averaging 27.9 points and 11.2 rebounds a game, he has a true shooting percentage above the league average (56.3 percent for Cousins) and he has a PER of 27.1 which is sixth best in the league.

Combine him with the numbers Rajon Rondo has put up lately the Kings become much more dangerous. They’d be even scarier if everyone stayed healthy and George Karl would settle on a lineup.

PBT Extra: Kobe Bryant understands now is time to walk away

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It was expected Kobe Bryant would retire at the end of this season.

It was not expected Kobe would make that official on Nov. 29 — it’s caught the media at Staples Center Sunday (of which I was one) and the fans by surprise.

In this PBT Extra, I talk with Jenna Corrado about the mood inside Staples Center Sunday.

More importantly, I discuss the sense I got that Kobe understands it’s time to walk away, and he is at peace with that.