Kings (14-24, 5-11 road) vs. Thunder (30-10, 17-3 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 108.8 (7th), Kings – 106.4 (13th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 101.5 (3rd), Kings – 108.5 (26th)
Pace: Thunder – 96.3 (5th), Kings – 94.8 (13th)
When you looked at this recent three-game stretch for the Thunder, considering how they’d played without Russell Westbrook, the game you could feel good about winning was tonight’s against the Kings. At Houston, home against the Warriors, those were two tough ones the Thunder probably would’ve done well to win one of. Well, they won both. And now they could go 3-0 in this stretch.
But it’s never that easy, is it? The Kings can be dangerous and the Thunder have proven to be inconsistent. I think we’re going to learn something about this team without Westbrook tonight. The last two games, it seemed like they were turning a corner and finding themselves a bit. Tonight, do they keep pushing ahead, or do they show they aren’t quite there yet?
Three Big Things
1. Boogie. DeMarcus Cousins is a major problem. He’s a monster on the glass, good in midrange and as good as there is in the league 10 feet and in from the basket. Kendrick Perkins, Steven Adams, Nick Collison, Serge Ibaka — they’ve all got their hands full in a big way tonight.
2. Rudy. Rudy Gay isn’t all that great of a basketball player. But he has been playing better with the Kings, and is it just me or does he seem to always play well against the Thunder. He’s a fourth quarter difference-maker here. If he’s got it going, the Kings have some tough inside-out stuff to deal with.
3. KD. What’s his encore look like? Can he do it again 48 hours later? Can he even put up 30 after that? I’m thinking yes.
Tip at 6:00 CT. Go 55.