The Oklahoma City Thunder were right back in action on Saturday night after a grueling double overtime victory against the Utah Jazz the previous night. OKC was up against another Western Conference foe, the Sacramento Kings. The Thunder’s effort was valiant, despite offensive struggles throughout the game, OKC was still in a position to win. But Russell Westbrook’s 41 point and 10 rebound performance was not enough, as the Kings held off OKC’s comeback bid for a 119-116 victory.
Flat was the best term to describe OKC’s offense for most of this game. However, despite the flat offense, the effort was amazing. The effort was there for the full 48 minutes from everyone that touched the court. Paul George played over 50 minutes last night, Russell Westbrook played over 40 minutes; the previous game took a lot out of these men. The heart of this team was never in doubt.
The Thunder played from behind for most of the game. It seemed as if every time they would get close, the Kings would make a play to halt their momentum. OKC trailed by 11 entering the 4th quarter, however the bench unit quickly cut the lead into single digits. The Thunder trailed 104-96 midway through the quarter, then Westbrook led a 13-4 run to give OKC the lead. The Kings answered with easy buckets from Willie Cauley-Stein and Marvin Bagley III. After a Terrance Ferguson miss, De’Aaron Fox showed off his speed, took the ball the length of the floor and laid the ball in while being fouled by Steven Adams.
OKC trailed 116-113 with a minute remaining when Russ nailed another three to tie the game. Fox was fouled on the next possession by Ferguson and he nailed both free throws. Jerami Grant attempted a three on the next Thunder possession that missed, the ball was tipped out to Russ, he made the quick decision to drive into the paint where he was met by a ‘moving’ Cauley-Stein and was called for an offensive foul.
The Thunder were forced to foul Harrison Barnes and he made one of two free throws. OKC trailed by three with 4 seconds remaining, and they put the ball into the hands of PG. George came off a high screen from Adams, had a little bit of daylight to get a shot over the outstretched arms of the 7-foot Cauley-Stein, but the shot fell short and the Kings walked away with the victory.
OKC shot 38% from the field and shot 30% from the three. They also won the rebound battle (59-46), and were edged by the Kings (48-46) in the paint. The Thunder fought hard but the Kings were able to be more efficient at the right times.
Russ had his 3rd straight 40 point game (41) and also pulled down 10 rebounds. George had a double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds. Schroder scored 14 points off the bench. Adams, Terrance Ferguson and Markieff Morris all were in double-digits as well.
Buddy Hield led the Kings with 34 points on 12-of-22 shooting. Bagley III has a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Fox also put in 19 points. Cauley-Stein scored 11 points and pulled down 10 rebounds.