Thursday, June 1 2023

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has been upgraded to questionable for Saturday night’s road matchup against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The fifth-year player is still recovering from a left hip contusion. Gilgeous-Alexander did not play in the Thunder’s 119-111 win over the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday. It was his second game missed this season.

Per a few NBA betting sites, the Thunder have the fifth-lowest odds to win the championship in 2023. However, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is the favorite to win Most Improved Player of the Year this season.

Other players on Oklahoma City’s injury report include Mike Muscala (finger) and Chet Holmgren (foot). Holmgren is out for the entire season due to a Lisfranc injury he sustained during the offseason at the CrawsOver Pro-Am in Seattle.

And Muscala is listed as questionable because of a broken left pinky finger. He fractured his finger in a loss to the New York Knicks in late November.

Through 20 starts this season, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is averaging career highs of 31.1 points, 6.1 assists, 1.7 steals, and 1.2 blocks. In addition to logging 4.9 rebounds per game, the Thunder guard is shooting 50.6% from the floor and 33.9% from three-point range.

Thunder star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has been upgraded to questionable vs. Timberwolves on Saturday

Moreover, in Oklahoma City’s 131-126 loss to the Denver Nuggets, the Kentucky product recorded his first double-double of the season. He amassed 31 points, seven boards, 11 assists, two steals, and one block in 43 minutes played.

On Wednesday, the Thunder overcame a 20-point deficit in the second half to defeat the Spurs. They led 96-88 at the start of the fourth. Of course, it was San Antonio’s ninth consecutive loss. Amid Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s absence, Jalen Williams stepped up during crunch time.

Williams sank a pullup jumper with 30.8 seconds remaining in the game, giving the Thunder a 115-111 lead. He finished with 27 points, six rebounds, and two assists in 33 minutes played. The guard shot 11-of-15 from the field and hit two threes as well.

“He’s strong, he’s tough, he’s smart and he’s got great length and size,” Thunder coach Mark Daigneault said of Williams. “Once his fundamentals catch up to the rest of those ingredients, he’s going to be a really great defensive player, too.”

At the quarter point of the regular season, Oklahoma City is 9-13 and ranks 12th overall in the Western Conference standings. On the bright side, at least Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is on track to receive his first All-Star and All-NBA selections. As for the Timberwolves, they are 11-11 and sit 10th in the conference.

According to ESPN’s Basketball Power Index, the Timberwolves have a 70.1% chance of defeating the Thunder on Saturday night. Sportsbooks have not yet released the betting lines for this matchup. Though, Minnesota is the projected favorite to win.

Source: Basketball Insider


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