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Oklahoma City Thunder try to move forward after Andre Roberson injury

From NBA media reports

The first blow was the New Orleans Pelicans losing All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins for the season to an Achilles injury Friday night, a blow to a team scrapping for its life in the Western Conference playoff chase and a loss that could change the landscape come mid-April.

Andre Roberson doesn’t have the same status as Cousins around the league, but his loss (due to a ruptured patella tendon) could be just as devastating for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Roberson suffered the injury during the third quarter of Oklahoma City’s win over Detroit on Saturday night.

Roberson is the Thunder’s defensive tone-setter and one of the league’s best defenders, regardless of position. Erik Horne of the Oklahoman surveys the landscape as the Thunder prepare to move on without him for potentially the rest of the season:

More than anything, the Thunder understands how irreplaceable Roberson is as a defender and teammate. Roberson was arguably having an even better season than his NBA All-Defensive team campaign from a year ago. The Thunder allowed just 96.4 points per 100 possessions with Roberson on the floor this season, 108.3 without him.

“It’s s***. It’s real s***,” said a sullen Adams, Roberson’s close friend who was a part of the same draft class in 2013 and has seen the world with the Thunder wing — from preseason games in Spain, to regular-season contests in Mexico City, to offseason trips to Adams’ native New Zealand for basketball camps.

When Roberson was out, the Thunder went 4-4 but its defense conceded 106.1 points per 100 possessions, which would be 15th in the NBA. Even plugging in the willing Terrance Ferguson won’t fully account for an All-Defensive team player vital to the Thunder’s matching up with the wing-heavy play of the Golden State Warriors or the Houston Rockets.

“It doesn’t make it any easier,” Adams said of the Thunder having experience playing without Roberson this season. “No matter how many times you do it, it doesn’t make it any easier because you’re dealing with a very talented individual, you know what I mean?

“If anybody goes down in here you can’t replace them.”

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