Photo Credits: Coby Van Loan/OKC Thunder
When the term “tank wars” has been used to denote the NBA’s lottery contenders — it is not being used loosely. Throughout the course of the year teams have begun pulling players from games for simple “rest” purposes, as we found out Saturday — Adam Silver has had enough.
As first reported by Shams Charania, the Toronto Raptors have been fined $25,000 by the NBA for violating the league’s “player resting policy.”
The San Antonio Spurs were also lashed with a $25,000 tab, but with both organizations backed by billionaires — this is nothing more than a slap on the wrist.
For the Toronto Raptors, their case shines a significant light towards the Thunder as leading up to Sunday’s contest, is appears their franchise has stood firm with holding players from the game.
In their last contest, the Raptors held both Kyle Lowry and Pascal Siakam back for “rest” while Gary Trent Jr. and OG Anunoby missed time with respective ankle and knee injuries — all but Gary Trent Jr. will sit for Sunday’s contest.
In addition to Lowry, Siakam, and Anunoby missing time, Fred VanVleet and Jalen Harris will be absent for knee injuries.
Oklahoma City has been experiences when it has come to resting players (see: Al Horford,) but as of late all departures have been subject to injury, expect for Big Al of course. Two game time decisions will be made in a probable Aleksej Pokusevski (arm soreness) and Lu Dort (hip) who is questionable Sunday. These two names will accompany Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (plantar fasciitis,) Josh Hall (concussion,) Gabriel Deck (not with team,) and Mike Muscala (ankle) in Oklahoma City’s injury report.
This game will face even more lottery implications as Oklahoma City (20-36) mounts a mere 2.5 game advantage over Toronto (23-34) in the standings as they sit fifth and eighth respectively in lottery odds.
Coverage will begin at 6pm cst.