Thabo Sefolosha’s Return to Oklahoma City Thunder Just in Time: A Fan’s Take

If there is one player that the Oklahoma City Thunder needed to get back in their lineup, it was Thabo Sefolosha. The shooting guard was not an offensive powerhouse but was one of the biggest weapons the team had to defensively guard the perimeter. Without him, the Thunder suffered.

Thabo Sefolosha
Wikimedia Commons

Sefolosha came back from injury on Thursday night, March 15, against the Denver Nuggets. It was hard to judge Sefolosha's impact since the Nuggets were playing shorthanded as they finished the trade that shipped off their best player, Nene.

Offensively, Sefolosha finished the game with three points and one assist in 12 minutes of play. The guard had missed 23 straight games with a foot injury and head coach Scott Brooks wanted to work him back in slowly. The offensive stats are not where you see how much Sefolosha contributes.

Denver shot 22.7-percent from 3-point land, finishing with only five three's in 22 attempts. That is where the Thunder missed Sefolosha's contributions.

The next night saw the Thunder lose for only the fourth time at home, but the third time in the last few weeks. Once again, Sefolosha was limited, playing only 15 minutes in the game, but the San Antonio Spurs dominated from beyond the arc. For the second time this season, the Spurs made the Thunder look less than ordinary with their performance.

As a team, the Spurs hit nine-of-19 from the 3-point range, a very nice 47.4-percent. The Spurs also finished with a 51.7-percent shooting night from the floor. Meanwhile, Oklahoma City hit only 44.3-percent from the floor and 36-percent from beyond the arc.

But, what about Sefolosha?

"He defends, he plays hard, he helps, he just does all the things you want from your players," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "Everybody loves him, not just me, but the other coaches, the players.

Finally, the Thunder are back to full strength. Daequan Cook can move back to his position as a 3-point gunner late in the games and the defense can start to get back to normal for Oklahoma City. They are on a rough patch, but Sefolosha's return might be just what the doctor ordered.

Author Shawn S. Lealos has a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Oklahoma (2000) and is an avid sports fan that has lived in Oklahoma for over 40 years. He used to religiously follow the Dallas Mavericks until Oklahoma City found a team to call their own.

Source: CBSSports.com

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Updated Saturday, Mar 17, 2012