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Preview 10 of 82: Thunder @ Kings

Preview 10 of 82: Thunder @ Kings

Time: 9:00 PM CT

TV: NBA TV / Fox Sports Oklahoma

Radio: WWLS (98.1 FM OKC / 97.1 FM Tulsa)

Game Notes: Thunder / Kings

The Thunder (4-5) is in Sacramento tonight for a tilt with the Kings (1-8). Coming off a pair of brutal losses to Boston and Portland, Oklahoma City has a prime opportunity to smooth its issues against a sub-par opponent on a seven game losing streak.

The Thunder has been far from perfect through nine games, but the Kings have had a much more difficult time of it. They play slow, are generally bad on both sides of the basketball, and rank toward the bottom of the NBA in almost every major statistical category. OKC has looked particularly inept over the last six quarters of action, but should be able to cruise and build momentum ahead of a Thursday/Friday back-to-back against the Nuggets and Clippers.

Oklahoma City is an 11 point favorite in this one. Tip-off is at 9:00 PM CT on NBA TV and Fox Sports Oklahoma. Late night incoming.

Injury Report


  • N/A


  • Harry Giles: Out — Knee

Starting Five



Four Factors


  • Point guard George Hill missed the Kings’ last game due to personal reasons. Rookie De’Aaron Fox got the start in his place, scoring 14 points on 5/10 shooting. Hill is back with the team tonight, and will presumably re-enter the starting lineup.
  • Fox is currently leading the Kings in scoring at 12.7 PPG. Zach Randolph follows at 12 PPG, Buddy Hield is scoring 11.3 PPG, and Bogdan Bogdanovic is contributing 10.7 PPG.
  • Hill, Randolph, Malachi Richardson and Garrett Temple are all shooting 40 percent or better from deep for the Kings. Buddy Hield is off to a terrible start from downtown, hitting just 26 percent on more than four attempts per game.
  • Despite the losing record, OKC is still third in the NBA with a +7.2 point differential. The Kings rank dead last in the category with a -12.
  • The Thunder has the second best defensive rating in the league at 100.1. The Kings carry the 29th rated offensive rating at 98.8.
  • With Steven Adams tied up with Willie Cauley-Stein, Melo should draw the match-up with Zach Randolph. Expect a lot of “grown man moves,” cursing and physicality in that one.
  • After Carmelo Anthony’s ejection cut his night short on Sunday, Paul George is now leading the Thunder in scoring at 21 PPG. Melo resides at 20.6 PPG. Westbrook is averaging 20.1 PPG.
  • Alex Abrines enters averaging just 13.5 minutes per game over the last two games. He’s shooting 35 percent from the floor this season, with a 33 percent rate from downtown. The Thunder should be able to stay in command of this one, so perhaps there will be an opportunity for extended run for Abrines. He needs to get a rhythm going.
  • Through nine games, Russell Westbrook is shooting an abysmal 58 percent from the free throw line. A recent rule change has disallowed him from executing his career-long routine of walking beyond the three-point line between shots, but he suggested today that he’s doing it anyway and risking the delay of game call.

De-Aaron Fox on the Kings’ mindset and facing Russell Westbrook. Via Kings.

Russell Westbrook sort of discusses free throws and his routine. Via Brett Dawson.