Preview 69 of 82: Kings @ Thunder
Time: 7:00 PM CT
Radio: WWLS (98.1 FM OKC/97.1 FM Tulsa)
The Oklahoma City Thunder (39-29) is back in action tonight at Chesapeake Energy Arena, hosting the Sacramento Kings (21-46) on the first night of a back-to-back. The Thunder is currently sixth in the Western Conference but can improve playoff positioning by taking care of business against a bad Kings squad.
While the Thunder has an advantage in terms of talent, the team could be without Steven Adams. After suffering a sprained ankle against the Spurs on Saturday, the big man is questionable for tonight’s match-up. His status will be updated closer to game time.
Tip-off is at 7:00 PM CT and will be televised on Fox Sports Oklahoma. The Thunder is a 13-point favorite according to Odds Shark.
Update: Steven Adams will be active.
- Steven Adams: Active — Ankle
- Terrance Ferguson: Active – Concussion
- Andre Roberson: Out – Knee
- Harry Giles: Out — Knee
- Iman Shumpert: Out — Foot
Kings: De’Aaron Fox, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Justin Jackson, Zach Randolph, Willie Cauley-Stein
Thunder O & D
Kings O & D
OKC leads season-series 2-1
Nov. 7: SAC 94, OKC 86 [BOX SCORE]
Jan. 15: OKC 95, SAC 88 [BOX SCORE]
Feb. 22: OKC 110, SAC 107 [BOX SCORE]
Defending the Three. Despite their faults, the Kings are a dangerous team from beyond the arc. Sacramento shoots 37.9 percent from deep — good for third-best in the NBA. Look for Buddy Hield, Bogdan Bogdanovic, and Garrett Temple to take a plethora of attempts. The Kings have hit an average of 10 three-pointers in the three games against OKC this season. Corey Brewer and Josh Huestis will be busy.
Riding the Bench. The Thunder bench exploded for 50 points on Saturday night against the Spurs — a welcomed outburst from a group that typically contributes 25.9 PPG (third-fewest in the NBA). On the other hand, the Kings’ bench scores more than any reserve unit in the association, dropping 45.1 PPG. The OKC bench needs to stay hot and hold its own tonight — the Sacramento reserves put up 53 points in their November 7 win over the Thunder.
Paging PG13 & Melo. Since the All-Star break, Paul George is averaging 18.9 PPG on 37.5 percent shooting — hitting just 26.1 percent of his attempts from long distance. Over the same span, Carmelo Anthony is averaging 13.5 PPG on 35.6 percent shooting and 35.3 percent from downtown. It’s clear these two are struggling but it’s getting a bit too late in the season for all that. The Thunder should look to them early and often in hopes of sparking some offense that can be carried into the upcoming gauntlet of important games. The Kings allow 107.2 PPG to opposing offenses, making this an appetizing match-up on paper. (Especially important if Adams sits)
Russell Westbrook. The reigning MVP has averaged 30.6 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 8 assists over the last fives games, hitting on 54.5 percent of his field goal attempts. He’s coming off a 21-12-10 triple-double on Saturday versus San Antonio and has taken just one three-pointer in the last two games. Watch out for Takeover Mode if Adams sits, and/or PG13 and Melo’s struggles continue.
Winning Comfortably. With the season winding down and the Thunder locked in a tight playoff battle, winning games like this one are incredibly important. There’s absolutely no reason the Kings should escape win a victory, regardless of who’s available for OKC.
Paul George discusses the Thunder getting a visit from VP of Referee Training & Development, Monty McCutchen. Says nothing positive came from the meeting. (Via Erik Horne)