OKC Thunder: Dennis Schroder sharp in return
Dennis Schroder walked into the arena Friday night wearing a hoodie that perfectly summed up where he’s been the last two weeks.
“FAMILY FIRST” was printed underneath an image of Schroder and his family.
They were the words he spoke a month ago when Schroder announced his plans to leave the bubble for the birth of his daughter. After welcoming baby Imalia, Schroder returned to the bubble Monday night and cleared quarantine just in time to suit up in the Thunder’s final seeding game Friday.
“The NBA did a great job,” Schroder said. “OKC did a great job bringing me to my wife to support her.”
Schroder, playing for the first time since Aug. 1, scored 17 points and dished four assists in the Thunder’s 107-103 loss to the Clippers.
While the Thunder’s core players were either out with injuries or rested for much of the game, Schroder played 25 minutes. He shot 6-of-12 from the field and connected on all three of his 3-point attempts.
“I thought he played really well,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. “I felt like he had a pretty good rhythm. From a conditioning standpoint I wanted to give him maybe another four or five minutes there in that third quarter and then let him rest from there. But I felt like he got some really good work in tonight.”
Schroder was in mandatory self isolation until Friday morning. He worked out at 11 a.m. and was rushed into action Friday night.
“Staying in a small room for four days was pretty tough,” Schroder said of his quarantine. “I’m back now.”
While away, Schroder said he practiced and worked out.
The speedy point guard showed no rust against the Clippers. Starting for just the second time this season, Schroder scored the Thunder’s first basket on a left-handed layup.
“The shots was falling,” Schroder said. “Felt pretty confident.”
Chris Paul was out Friday with a left hand sprain, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander played just 14 minutes before resting in the second half.
The lethal three-guard lineup featuring Paul, Gilgeous-Alexander and Schroder has yet to debut in Orlando, but it’s a combination Donovan said the Thunder will practice with in the days leading up to Game 1 against the Rockets on Tuesday.
Schroder showed Friday he’s ready for the playoffs.
“It’s go time now,” he said.