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Thunder vs Kings, final score: a win is a win, 106-101

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It wasn’t pretty, but the Thunder just hit 40 wins on the season.

NBA: Sacramento Kings at Oklahoma City Thunder Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

box score | Sactown Royalty

The Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Sacramento Kings at home, 106-101. In a game of fits and starts and another actual 4th quarter deficit to the lottery-bound Kings, OKC managed to put together enough stops in the 4th quarter to seal the win and improbably slide back into the 4th spot in the Western playoff seedings (aside - the Spurs just went from 4th to 10th; yikes!).

The Thunder were chugging along in an uninspiring way when, once again, they decided to make the 3rd quarter their degree of difficulty, because hey, who doesn’t want to land that Triple-Lindy? As such, the Kings put forth one of those “aw, come on!” 63% shooting quarters that lottery teams are so good at doing and outscored OKC 39-32 to take a lead. Fortunately for the Thunder, they girded their loins just in time to hold Sacramento to 39% shooting in the 4th and held on for the win.

The Thunder were led by Russell Westbrook, who finished with his 2nd triple-double in a row, with a stat line of 17-11-10 against only 2 turnovers. Carmelo Anthony bounced back from his poor showing last time out by dropping 21 on 7-14 shooting, including 5-7 from 3-point range, although still logged 32 minutes to get it. Meanwhile, Paul George appears to be rediscovering his long-range shooting touch, finishing with 4-9 from 3-point range, and the Brew Crew finished with 16, including 7-7 from the free throw line, although was the only starter to finish with a negative plus-minus. And Josh Huestis is clearly being held as the secret weapon. Don’t want to show your hand too early!

OKC is back in action tomorrow night as they fly to Atlanta to take on the also-lottery-bound Hawks at 6:30PM EST. The Hawks feature a player named Antonius Cleveland, and oh my goodness I love that name, it’s like he tumbled out of a Tarantino movie and started shooting jumpers.