Given the shaping playoff chances of the Oklahoma City Thunder as well as the positive response made by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander from his abdominal strain, coach Mark Daigneault made it known the increased chance of his All-Star guard to play the team’s upcoming back-to-back for Thursday and Friday.
“Because of how he’s responded, the back-to-backs are more on the table now than they’ve been,” Daigneault said of Gilgeous-Alexander following their 101-100 thrilling win over the L.A. Clippers, per Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman.
Gilgeous-Alexander powered the Thunder over a nail-biting one against the Clips, finishing with 31 points, seven boards, and four assists.
The Thunder had two previous back-to-backs this March, wherein Gilgeous-Alexander sat out for both of their enders as he rested his abdomen.
As such, OKC got another one coming up this Thursday against the Clippers again, followed by the Lakers on the following day. They are also slated for a fourth double-header at the end of the month, facing the Charlotte Hornets and the Detroit Pistons on Mar. 28 and 29, respectively.
“We didn’t know when we put this plan in place how he was gonna respond, and based on how we’ve managed it and how he’s managed it, he’s responded well, especially right after games, which is most important for back-to-backs,” Daigneault added. “We’re open-minded to it, but we haven’t played one yet.”
With the win, SGA and Oklahoma City further entered the Western Conference’s competitive scene, now seventh-placers with a 36-36 record and above the contending Dallas Mavericks.
Throughout the last 10 games of all teams, Thunder stands as the best with their 8-2 record. Per Tankathon, OKC also got the second easiest schedule remaining for their 2022-23 regular season.
A potential activation of Gilgeous-Alexander in the team’s upcoming back-to-backs can only show the confidence and unwavering belief of Oklahoma City to carry their soaring momentum and ultimately nail a seat in the postseason after two seasons of absence and a brief rebuilding phase – a stupendous transition.