Thunder roll past Kings, 110-94

Well this was a pretty convincing win. The winning streak extends to five games and if OKC wants a higher seeding, this was a must win against a pretty underwhelming team.

Russ was two rebounds shy of his standard triple-double, but a triple-double wasn’t needed to win this game. He was hunting for those last rebounds at the end of the game, but the Kings made quite a few shots in a row at the end. When the first quarter ended, OKC was up by 10. By halftime, they were up 20 and kept that lead for most of the game. In the fourth quarter, the Kings made a late run, but then Russ came in like a wrecking ball, scoring an immediate and-one. The Thunder scored four consecutive buckets – three from Russ and they put the game away.

Steven Adams had a terrific night on both ends. He only shot 6-of-7, but he ended the night with 16 points, 13 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and 1 block. The Kings didn’t have an answer for him whatsoever, he’s a big reason why the Thunder were +14 in the rebounding category. He looked like the second-best Thunder player and that’s what this team needs from him more consistently. When he’s not involved on the offensive end, it puts a lot of pressure on the back court to score at a high volume. This was one of the better games for The Big Kiwi this season. I really enjoy these weekend afternoon games, and I guess Adams does too.

Russ played with good balance tonight. He went 9-of-20 from the field and that lower volume of shots for Russ gave more opportunities for other guys to get going on offense. He ended the night with 28 points, 8 rebounds, 10 assists and 4 steals. He had 7 turnovers, which is never great, but the offense is much more balanced when Russ isn’t forced to generate the Thunder offense every single possession.

Doug McDermott scored 21 points on a super-efficient 8-of-9 from the field and hit 4-of-5 from behind the arc. McDermott showed what his potential tonight can be for this team. He’s not going to be this efficient very often, but he’s a guy that can provide shooting to a team that desperately needs it. His pairing with Abrines in backup minutes can be lethal against the right team and tonight was proof of that.

The Kings couldn’t get a good rhythm going the entire game on offense. Without Boogie Cousins on their roster, they’re left without a go-to-scorer. They’ve got a decent number of young players with upside, but most of those guys are going to need a season or two before they’re able to be an impactful player on a decent team. Every Kings player that saw minutes in tonight’s game scored at least 4 points and they had five guys that scored in double-digits. Georgios Papagiannis led the Kings in scoring with 14 points, 11 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal and 1 block. Skal Labissiere also had a solid night with 13 points, 4 rebounds and 1 steal.

The Thunder extend their win streak to five games and are making a solid push for a higher seeding for the playoffs. OKC improves to 40-29 on the season, tying their record with the Clippers. If OKC can keep up this rhythm, they could end up with a favorable match-up against Utah. If there’s any slippage, they could easily find themselves in the seventh seed playing either the Spurs or Warriors in the first round – definitely not ideal.

Notes

  • Semaj Christon continues to get minutes over Norris Cole. He’s looking more comfortable out there and had a highlight block that led to a McDermott transition three-pointer. I don’t mind him playing, but I’m pretty certain his minutes are getting yanked pretty significantly once the playoffs start.
  • Who is Sacramento’s best player? I guess it’s probably either Tyreke Evans or Darren Collison, but I’m not totally sure. I don’t think Sacramento knows that answer either.
  • Kyle Singler is the Toby Flenderson of the Thunder. “I hate so much about the things you choose to be.” – Michael Scott
  • A big test for OKC comes on Monday against the Warriors. Sure, the Warriors are without Durant and they’ve been in a funk, but a win against Golden State is still a big win, even if it’s just a moral victory.

Next up: Against the KD-less Warriors on Monday at 7:00 PM CST