Good news keeps rolling in for the Thunder.
Not only did Russell Westbrook get his 16th technical foul rescinded, allowing him to avoid suspension and play against the Trail Blazers tonight, Portland will be without LaMarcus Aldridge.
The Trail Blazers, thanks to their Northwest Division title, are locked into the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference, though they won’t have home-court advantage in the first round. So, this game means nothing to them, which means they should be especially cautious with injuries. In other words, don’t assume Aldridge’s injury will linger into the playoffs.
On the other hand, this game has high stakes for the Thunder, who are tied with the Pelicans for eighth in the West but don’t have the tiebreaker. Oklahoma City (remaining opponents: Trail Blazers, Timberwolves) must win one more game than New Orleans (remaining opponents: Timberwolves, Spurs) to make the playoffs.
The Thunder are still in a tough spot, but their odds are looking a little better with Aldridge out.