Okla. City Thunder (37-24, 18-13 road) at Sacramento Kings (21-41, 15-14 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 106.5 (18th), Kings – 105.8 (20th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 103.0 (5th), Kings – 110.4 (27th)
Pace: Thunder – 92.9 (14th), Kings – 94.3 (6th)
View from the enemy: Cowbell Kingdom
This game is dangerous. Absolutely, in every way possible, a trap game. The Kings played Oklahoma City tough five days ago at the Ford Center and they did it by scoring almost at will. And at Arco Arena, they are a scary team. They’re 15-14 at home and have beat a good number of solid teams there, including the Thunder once earlier this year.
Sacramento coming in: Since the two teams last played, the Kings made a trip through Texas winning at Houston and losing at Dallas Friday. Like I said, 15-14 at home, but 3-7 in their last 10.
Not too much to say since these two squads played just a few nights ago, but if we learned anything it’s that Sacramento can score if you play mediocre defense. Tyreke Evans tore apart James Harden, which is why I expect to see a good amount of minutes for Thabo. Francisco Garcia hit a handful of 3s, so I would think the closeouts might be a little better. Carl Landry has historically been tough on the Thunder, so that matchup is key. Sean May had a season-high game Tuesday against OKC, Beno Udrih has been playing really well and Andres Nociani is back.
But while the Kings have some scorers, they are a light defensive squad. Russell Westbrook completely abused Udrih, Sacto doesn’t have anyone to guard Kevin Durant and other than Landry, the Kings are a little light inside, with Jason Thompson still out. Overall, the matchups favor OKC.
Again, a dangerous game that shouldn’t be taken for granted in any way. But it’s a very winnable game and one the Thunder needs to take care of to keep pace in the West. You drop a game like this and you’ll be regretting it in a month.
Tip at 8:00 CST. Go Hurt Locker (I think that deserves Best Picture, alright?)