The Oklahoma City Thunder will close out 2019 with a visit from the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday. Per the NBA injury report, Dennis Schroder and Danilo Gallinari are both listed as questionable with ankle soreness. For the Mavericks, Luka Doncic is questionable with a left wrist sprain and a back contusion. Tim Hardaway Jr.’s status is also up in the air with a left hamstring strain.
Dallas is 2-2 with Doncic on the shelf one of those wins was a 120-116 victory over the Bucks in Milwaukee back on December 16th. As for the Thunder, they are 4-1 without Gallinari, and 1-0 without Schroder.
Tuesday features a matchup of two teams going in opposite directions the Mavericks have lost 5 of their last nine. Oklahoma City, on the other hand, is 11-4 in their previous 15 games. One of the biggest reasons for the Thunder’s success of late is Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. In the Thunder’s last six contest, Gilgeous-Alexander is scoring 164 points, which is the sixth-most in the NBA, including three 32 point outings vs. the Clippers, Raptors, and Suns.
If those three games aren’t enough to earn Gilgeous-Alexander player of the month consideration in the western conference, then give Chris Paul or Schroder a look. Schoder has already picked up a player of the week honor, and Paul leads all NBA players with 84 clutch points this season. It might be a little overreaching to think this now, but if the Thunder make it to the playoffs, they could prove to be a tough out for whoever they face in the first round. Right now, that would be the Los Angles Clippers. Oklahoma City is 1-1 vs. the Clippers winning at the Peake 118-1112 and falling in the Staples Center 89-90. It should be pointed out that Kawhi Leonard was out of both of those games.
A couple of things worth noting Joe Mussatto of the Oklahoman is reporting the LiAngelo Ball is joining the Blue (Thunder G-League team) as a practice player. Ball last played for his father in the Junior Basketball Association that folded after one year.
Steven Adams spent some time with Zach Lowe of ESPN on Lowe’s podcast. The biggest takeaway from the interview was Adams saying, Russell Westbrook was kind enough to call Adams and let him know something was up before Westbrook was traded to Houston. While Kevin Durant, as has been well documented, did not let any of his teammates know he was bolting for Golden State. It would have been polite of Durant to let Westbrook and Nick Collison in on his decision, but it wasn’t necessary. If Collison and Westbrook feel slighted, that’s their ax to grind.
Thunder/Mavericks Tuesday at the Peake. This will be the Thunder’s 12th straight New Year’s Eve game. I won’t play spoiler if you’ll be in attendance, however, do yourself a favor and visit the roaring 20’s party that will be on the concourse between sections 115/116 it’s free for all ages and will last 90 minutes. If you can’t go, tipoff is a seven on Fox Sports Oklahoma.