Fox Sports previews tonight’s Thunder/Kings match-up: “Not much has come easy for the Thunder and it continues to be that way entering Monday’s home game against the Sacramento Kings. While the Kings remain in last place in the Western Conference, they did beat the Thunder on Nov. 7 in Sacramento. But that was one of a few blips on what has been a disappointing start for the Kings (13-29). Sacramento is just 2-9 in its last 11 games, including dropping four straight. The Kings are last in the NBA in both offensive efficiency and defensive efficiency.”
Erik Horne on Andre Roberson being out again tonight: “Thunder guard Andre Roberson will miss his eighth consecutive game Monday against Sacramento with left knee tendinitis. Roberson hasn’t played since the Thunder’s 97-95 loss to Milwaukee on Dec. 29. The Thunder is 3-4 in Roberson’s absence, snapping a three-game losing streak on Saturday with a 101-91 win in Charlotte. Roberson will be reevaluated after Monday’s game.”
Fred Katz on Buddy Hield’s hot streak ahead of his match-up in OKC: “Hield shot just 35 percent from the field and 23 percent on 4.4 3-point attempts a game through the first seven games of the season, all starts. He has spot-started only a few games since after becoming a reserve for game No. 8. He’s averaged 12.8 points on 46 percent overall shooting and 48 percent 3-point shooting since. Of course, it hasn’t helped the 13-29 Kings to success.”
The Thunder will celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day at tonight’s game: “The Oklahoma City Thunder will host the Sacramento Kings on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Monday, January 15, at 7 p.m. The game marks the first time the NBA has scheduled a home game for the Thunder on MLK Day. The night will feature several tributes to the late activist in celebration of his life and impact on race relations in the United States.”
A preview of the MLK video that will play at halftime of Kings/Thunder:
AJ Mason (USA Today) on why Paul George needs 20+ shots every night: “During the 2017-18 season, Russell Westbrook has taken fewer than 18 shots on 10 occasions. The Thunder have gone 9-1 in those 10 games. On the other hand, Paul George has taken more than 20 shots on six occasions, and the team has gone 5-1 in those six games.”
Bill Haisten (Tulsa World) on why effort is the top issue for this Thunder team: “It’s a matter of big-picture chemistry. Flawed chemistry. It’s amazing that Billy Donovan can sustain his cool in the midst of such dysfunction. There has to be the occasional urge to throw a chair, or maybe the every-game urge to throw a chair. A coaching change wouldn’t fix this roster that seemed strong on paper but hasn’t functioned at the expected level. The NBA trade deadline is Feb. 8. Thunder general manager Sam Presti has a history of trade-deadline activity.”
Rohan Nadkarni (SI) with five story lines to watch on the NBA’s MLK Day slate of games: “With Terrance Ferguson in place of Roberson, that net rating bombs to –11.8. Roberson is a great defender, and (raising my very guilty hand here) he’s often unfairly criticized for his production on offense. But OKC should also have enough star power to overcome his absence. The Thunder put to rest some of the outside noise when they finally started winning close games. Now OKC needs to prove it’s Big Three can make up for the loss of a rotation player.”
Russell Westbrook’s signature Jordan sneaker goes on sale at 9AM CT: The “Mirror Image” colorway will be available for $125.
Around the League: Adam Silver spoke out against Donald Trump’s “sh*thole” remarks…. NBA coaches discuss what it means to play on MLK Day…. James Harden could return to the Rockets as early as Thursday…. Lakers brass are showing support for HC Luke Walton…. Best under-the-radar trade targets.