SALT LAKE CITY — Russell Westbrook took the floor Monday with KT tape lining both of his shoulders.
Thunder coach Billy Donovan, however, said he was unaware of anything wrong with his point guard, who started Game 4 of the Thunder’s first-round playoff series against Utah and played regular minutes.
“If there’s anything that needs to be brought to my attention, it is,” Donovan said. “Nothing’s been brought to my attention.”
Westbrook admitted following Saturday’s Game 3 that there was something going on with his upper body. Team trainer Mike Davis spent a portion of the second half of that game checking out Westbrook’s torso.
“A lot of [expletive] going on with my body,” Westbrook said after Game 3. “But that's everybody right now."
The Thunder have not listed him on their injury report and have not specified any ailment.
“Russell, I’m sure like every guy, is dealing with all sorts of different things and issues,” Donovan said. “But nothing’s been brought to my attention of what he may be dealing with or nothing’s limiting him from doing things we’ve been doing in practice or shootarounds.”
• Five out: For two straight games, Donovan has rolled with a lineup that includes usual power forward Patrick Patterson at center amongst a group of mostly or all starters. It gives Oklahoma City a weapon to help pull Utah center Rudy Gobert, one of the NBA’s best rim protectors, from the basket.
It’s something the Thunder haven’t had a load of practice time with — though it makes perfect strategic sense for this series.
“We’ve done some,” Donovan said. “The biggest thing in those situations is scripting that stuff. Even when you don’t necessarily go to it…There’s an awareness of it if we do go to it or have to go to it for a specific reason they’ll have an idea of what to do offensively.”
It requires some scaling from Donovan, who has to balance the value of stretching the floor with that of offensive rebounding. Putting Patterson in at the 5-spot means removing offensive glass glutton Steven Adams.
“We’re not going to be the same offensive rebounding team when Steven’s on the bench,” Donovan said. “That’s evident.”
• Getting tricky: Utah is particularly good at disguising their plays and adding wrinkles to certain actions in order to trick defenses into moving elsewhere.
“They do a very, very good job offensively,” Donovan said. “They’ve got a very unselfish team, a skilled team. [Jazz coach] Quin [Snyder] does a great job of putting them in different stuff.”
Fred Katz is the Thunder beat writer for the Norman Transcript and CNHI Oklahoma as well as the host of the postgame show, Thunder After Dark, and the OKC Dream Team, a weekly Thunder podcast that runs every Tuesday. Follow him on Twitter: @FredKatz.