After throwing in the towel on DeMarcus Cousins’ tenure, Dave Joerger’s bunch has lost eight of ten contests. Though ahead of today’s game, Sacramento does sport consecutive victories over Orlando, and most recently, Phoenix.
With Cousins shipped for the flotsam configuration of Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, and Langston Galloway, players such as Skal Labissiere (32 pts, 11 rebs vs. PHO) and Willie Cauley-Stein (13.4 ppg, 7.5 reb in March) have emerged to usher in the Kings’ immediate future.
Meanwhile, Oklahoma City boasts victories over quality groupings such as San Antonio, Utah, and Toronto throughout a current four-game unbeaten run. In addition, the Thunder swept its recent two-game road trip.
Furthermore, MVP-hopeful Russell Westbrook’s four successive triple-doubles now bring his total to 34 all-around summits on this potentially historic season.
And this season, Oklahoma City is knotted 1-1 in head-to-head competition vs. lottery-bound Sacramento.
Though this afternoon OKC enters as the sizable favorite, with each teams’ extensive trade-deadline roster turnover, today’s contest holds the potential to become a bit dicey.
To ensure victory, Oklahoma City must avoid drop-offs similar to those ill-fated early-March encounters vs. Phoenix and Portland.
OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER (39-29 #6 west) vs. SACRAMENTO KINGS (27-41 #13 west)
- Time: 3 PM ET
- Venue: Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
- TV: FSOK
OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER KEYS TO VICTORY
- Maintain focus
- Battle up front
- Continue to build good habits
- Share the ball/avoid isolation-heavy play
- Don’t look ahead to GSW
POTENTIAL STARTING LINUEPS/INJURY REPORTS
The Oklahoma City Thunder has no injuries to report. The Sacramento Kings list Malachi Richardson (Hamstring) as out. Darren Collision and Anthony Tolliver (Rest) are listed as day-to-day.
OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER
- Point Guard: Russell Westbrook
- Shooting Guard: Victor Oladipo
- Small Forward: Andre Roberson
- Power Forward: Taj Gibson
- Center: Steven Adams
- Point Guard: Darren Collison
- Shooting Guard: Buddy Heild
- Small Forward: Garrett Temple
- Power Forward: Skal Labissiere
- Center: Willy Cauley-Stein
OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER: -12
Oklahoma City enjoys overwhelming odds vs. a Kings group vying for a third win in as many games.
Today’s key matchup pits Steven Adams against Willie Cauley-Stein. While an overall solid defender, Adams does exhibit difficulty —especially in the pNR— opposite agile, and athletic centers.
Though not tasked with stopping “Boogie” this afternoon, Adams will have to contend with the young pairing of Stein and Labissiere.
Even so, if Oklahoma City can avoid an unexpected fusillade of made Kings three-pointers, this matinee contest should become an open and shut Thunder victory.