OKC Thunder (45-17, 20-11 road) at Sacramento Kings (20-42, 15-16 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 109.8 (2nd), Kings– 103.2 (23rd)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 102.9 (10th), Kings – 110.0 (29th)
Pace: Thunder – 93.0 (6th), Kings – 94.7 (1st)
View from the enemy: Cowbell Kingdom
Nothing has changed from a week ago. The Kings still stink. And this game isn’t on TNT during a “blackout” so there’s really no excuse to play bad and lose. Four games left and it’s time to turn it on. The game against Phoenix was a good start, but it has to stay consistent. Drop this game — or really any other — and the slim hope of the No. 1 is gone.
Sacramento coming in: The Kings played Wednesday, getting blasted by the Spurs.
Three Big Things
1. The two E’s and an F. Energy, effort and focus. Those three things are often what prevent the Thunder from winning. Against a team they’re far better than, honestly. just do two of those things and they’ll probably be fine.
2. DeMarcus Cousins vs. Kendrick Perkins/Serge Ibaka. Cousins is definitely the most threatening player to OKC on the Sacramento roster and has the potential to put up an easy double-double. The Thunder will likely throw both Perkins and Ibaka at Cousins at different times, so it’s about pushing him outside and making sure he doesn’t get easy points in the paint.3
3. Scoring. Kobe returns tonight for the Lakers, so his scoring average might move up or down a bit. KD needs to keep pace by putting up another solid 30-point or more game. Is the scoring title as important as other things? Of course not. But the little things count and when you talk about Durant’s excellence, having more to list on the resume is nice.
Tip at 9:00 CT. Go Hoops.