The Oklahoma City Thunder were already coming to Oracle Arena knowing that Russell Westbrook would be out, but their starting lineup was still in doubt until a few minutes ago when (former Oklahoman reporter) Anthony Slater tweeted that Steven Adams was cleared to play.
Erik Horne of The Oklahoman described the situation earlier today, reporting that Adams was a gametime decision due to a back injury that kept him out of practice yesterday.
Westbrook continues his recovery from arthroscopic surgery on his right knee, while Adams is dealing with lower back stiffness he started experiencing toward the end of practice Sunday in Oklahoma City, per Donovan. Adams did not practice on Monday, but went through a shootaround session Tuesday morning at Equinox in San Francisco.
If Adams can’t play, Nerlens Noel is the likely starter at center.
After going through a pre-game workout, Adams was eventually cleared to play.
Thunder might as well take the night off if you're going up against GS without 2 starters https://t.co/Iz3UVnoN60— Daniel Richeson (@Daniel_LWOS) October 17, 2018
Steven Adams officially a go tonight, which means Damian Jones’ first week as an NBA rotation center features matchups with Adams, Rudy Gobert and Nikola Jokic.— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) October 17, 2018
Meanwhile, with Russell Westbrook out, Dennis Schröder will be starting for the Thunder at point guard and have the unenviable task of trying to stick Steph Curry tonight, as noted by Nick Gallo of OKCThunder.com.
The focal point for Golden State is Stephen Curry, the lithe point guard who flits through the lane on cuts and flares back outside, then stutter-steps on the perimeter to find a crease for a delicate floating layup or a bomb from behind the arc. If Westbrook is in the lineup, Curry will be his primary assignment, and if not, Schröder will likely get that task. Making Curry work for what he gets, particularly before he gets the ball as he runs through screens and being physical without fouling will be crucial.
“That’s what they do pretty well, just moving without the ball, setting screens, slip out,” said Schröder. “You’ve just got to be aware of it, communicate.”
Dennis Schroder = ready for the season opener. #Thunder pic.twitter.com/4mTV8itFwM— Dylan Buckingham (@DylanBuckingham) October 16, 2018
Best of luck to Schröder and the Thunder.