Two-fifths of Oklahoma City’s starting lineup — two guys important to their defensive identity — will now be sidelined basically until the playoffs start.
Starting two guard Thabo Sefolosha will be out four to six weeks with a calf strain, reports the Oklahoman. The injury occurred Saturday night when the Thunder were beating the Cavs.
“He may come back a little sooner than this, he may come back a little later,” Thunder general Sam Presti said. “But we’re gonna (say) 4-6 weeks.”
“It’s unfortunate for us to have Thabo out,” Kevin Durant said. “He was playing so well, defending at a high level … It’s a blow to us that he’s gone, but we’re going to hold it down.”
This comes just days after the Thunder learned Kendrick Perkins also will be out the same amount of time with a strained groin. Both Perkins and Sefolosha are expected back by the start of the playoffs.
In the short term, Perry Jones will move into the Thunder’s starting rotation.
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When Perkins and Sefolosha are on the court together the Thunder defense is basically flat with the team’s season average (0.3 points per 100 possessions better, the opposing team’s shooting percentage is 0.3 percent higher). As you would expect (especially with Perkins) the Thunder offense is better when those two sit (OKC’s scores 5 points less per 100 possessions when they are paired). However, with Jones and Steven Adams starting the Thunder likely suffers. Their offense is going to have to carry them.
Which is a concern with the Spurs 1.5 games back of the Thunder for the best record in the West and home court throughout the playoffs. And the Spurs just got their core back healthy. The Thunder are also 1.5 games back of the Pacers for the best record overall in the NBA (meaning home court in a potential NBA Finals meeting).