OKC Thunder (33-18, 15-10 road) at Sacramento Kings (12-37, 7-21 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 110.5 (5th), Kings– 102.9 (26th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 108.5 (17th), Kings – 108.0 (16th)
Pace: Thunder – 92.9 (12th), Kings – 93.8 (8th)
View from the enemy: Cowbell Kingdom
A lot are looking at this little three-game stretch for the Thunder and seeing a big opportunity to pad the win column before the All-Star break. But winning at Sacramento isn’t easy. It’s a tough place to play at times and the Thunder proved earlier this week, nothing is a given.
But you’d think Oklahoma City would come out with an edge in this one. They’ve had almost five days to think about the sting of that Grizzlies loss and not only are they well rested, they’ve got to be itching for redemption. Sometimes that can work against you because you try too hard and try to play too perfect, so it’s something to keep an eye on.
Sacramento coming in: The Kings have dropped four straight but did beat the Lakers and Hornets back-to-back a couple weeks ago. They last played Wednesday.
As Tyreke Evans scores, so do the Kings. He’s their primary offensive threat and he’s been playing off the ball more. Thabo Sefolosha will get the early assignment, but honestly I kind of like Russell Westbrook and James Harden on him more because they’ve got the footspeed to cut off his dribble-drive.
DeMarcus Cousins has been playing much better of late and with him paired inside with Jason Thompson, plus Samuel Dalembert and Carl Landry, the Kings have a good inside presence. Which of course is a struggle for the Thunder. The play of Serge Ibaka and Nick Collison will certainly be important.
Kevin Durant will have Omri Casspi on him mostly, which is a matchup that OKC has a big edge at. Donte Greene is also a candidate to see time on KD and is a player with length and athleticism that can at least contest shots.
The Kings are capable of beating anyone. They’ve got some good, almost shocking wins over good teams and at times, play really well. But like most bad teams, they’re inconsistent and give you an opportunity to go on solid runs. But OKC has to play and play well. Nothing is automatic, especially on the road.
Tip at 9:00 CT. Go Redeem Team.