This also counts as an open thread, so feel free to post your thoughts during the game here.
Time: 9:30 PM Central Standard Time
Place: ARCO Arena/Power Balance Pavilion, Sacramento, California
TV: Fox Sports Net Oklahoma, Comcast Sports Net California
Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1), KHTK 1140 AM
Enemy Blog(s): Sactown Royalty
Previous Meeting(s): Dec. 17th
When you're a bad team, being in the Western Conference is a major drag. For the Kings, this is especially so, as they have played six straight games against teams that are over .500, and six more of those games are scheduled before they finally get a break against the Bobcats on the road. Over the first six, they have gone 2-4, which is more than anybody could have expected.
But tonight, there's no excuses for the Thunder. We need to take control of this game at the outset, and keep control throughout. The Kings are a team that's easily beatable, despite their recent success against top teams. How do you beat them? Play defense. That's it. The Kings can get into huge offensive slumps (much like the Thunder), but they're usually done if you put them in one. If you try to outscore them, on the other hand, be ready for a see-saw battle to the finish.
Francisco Garcia will be out tonight, but the Kings have done well without him, so it's not a huge deal. Essentially, the Thunder will have to worry about lots of scorers, the ever-reliable Tyreke Evans, and a random role player happening to have a big night. If we lose this game in what is to become "Power Balance Pavilion", we're going to have a long road ahead.
Prediction: Oklahoma City 112, Sacramento 97