Seeing Darnell Mayberry’s Tweet that Thunder guard Thabo Sefolosha won’t play tonight (Wednesday) when the Thunder plays at 7 p.m. game at Dallas reminded me of a popular conversation topic last season during the Western Conference Finals:
Why is Thabo Sefolosha starting to start with?
It began when the Mavs-Thunder series did, and intensified as the OKC offense struggled. The theory: Thabo is a defensive specialist who majors in slowing down primo shooting guards, and the Mavericks didn’t have one. Why waste minutes trying to shutdown DeShawn Stevenson? Why not start James Harden?
There’s been plenty of you signing in that chorus, and I’ve heard my good friend Darnell hum a few bars from time to time. But the signing died down considerably after the Thunder’s 112-100 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers Monday night.
James Harden started that game, and — as Darnell pointed out to me on Monday and Berry Tramel blogged on — seemed to promptly disappear. He scored seven points in 42 minutes, going 2-of-10 shooting. The net effect of starting Harden against the Clippers seemed to be losing him among the first-teammers (Durant 36 points, Westbrook 31 points) and removing his presence and playmaking entirely from the second team.
All of which reinforced what coach Scott Brooks has been saying for a while about his rotation — played out clearly in Los Angeles.
Which brings us to tonight’s game. Will Brooks give Harden another shot at starting, betting that what happened against the Clippers is not a representative sample. That seems to be likely. This is not a coach or a franchise that waffles or changes on whim. Darnell raised the possibility of starting Daequan Cook (plausible, I guess) or even Lazar Hayward (doubtful).
Who do you think should/will start in Thabo’s place?