The Oklahoma City Thunder will be riding high, fresh off their recent, four wins in five games stretch, as they take it the road tonight. Its going to be another late night for Thunder fans as the game against the Sacramento Kings has a 9pm Tipoff. The Kings will be coming into this game, possibly just as confident, after their big win on Sunday over the Denver Nuggets, their 2nd win in four games. The rest of the league will likely look at this as a "Battle for more Lottery Balls" but the fans over at Sactown Royalty don't want to lose to us, just as much as we don't want to lose to them! Lets face it, when your team has one of the worst records in the league, the last thing you want to see your team do is lose to another team with an equally (or worse) bad record as your team. The season series has seen each team win on their own floor once, and tonight will be the final matchup between these two teams this season.
Rumors have been fluttering around that we might see the return of Jeff Green tonight, but likely still won't see Durant at all this week. Thabo Sefolosha and Nick Collison were both listed for Sundays game as day-to-day, but both played, and I expect them both to play tonight as well. I haven't (at the time of this writing) heard any news about Robert Swift yet, but he's a bit more inconsequential than the other fellas. The question we're all waiting to see the answer to is, "Can this team maintain its recent defensive minded style when Green and Durant return?" We may get the first part of that answer, tonight, if Green does indeed play.
On the other side of the court, we won't have to worry about John Salmons this time (has been traded since last meeting), which makes their deadly offensive threat Kevin Martin, even more important. If we can get Thabo on him early, and rattle his cage a bit, perhaps the Kings will start looking elsewhere for buckets, and getting the ball out of Martins hands is always going to be a positive for Oklahoma City. The other starters do a nice job offensively at trying to pick up the slack for the Kings, but unless Martin carries this team with 30 points, I don't see how they can keep up, especially if Thabo and the gang can keep up the defensive intensity level that we have seen in these past five games.
Beno Udrih, the starting point guard for the Kings was ruled out of Sundays game with a sprained right foot and is listed as day-to-day. If he doesn't play, the capable veteran Bobby Jackson will handle the reigns and the lead the offensive charge for Sacramento. Francisco Garcia is also listed as day to day with a broken finger, but he played on Sunday and scored 19 points, so I'd expect him to suit it up again, and play.
The bottom line is, the Thunder should go on the road and handle business against one of the leagues worst teams. They took the Kings to overtime on Super Bowl Sunday in their lone game against the Kings in Sacramento, but shouldn't have the same troubles tonight, as long as they continue to play the style of basketball thats been so successfull for this team over the past week. Thabo Sefolosha will determine a lot in this game, especially if Brooks throws him on Kevin Martin. If he has a good game, so will the Thunder, and the Kings will get themselves one step closer in the Blake Griffin sweepstakes.