CK Press Box Report: Kings 104, Thunder 83
For one night, the magic returned. The Sacramento Kings (15-20) resembled their early-season selves as they dismantled the Oklahoma City Thunder (17-19), 104-83 at Sleep Train Arena.
With a wonderful blend of efficient offense and hard-nosed defense, the Kings raced out ahead early and never looked back.
“After we got ourselves going, I thought we got some good stops on the defensive end which allowed us to run the ball a little bit,” head coach Tyrone Corbin told the media after the win.
While the Kings shot 39.1 percent from the floor, they were 10-of-19 from behind the arc and worked the whistle for 22-of-28 free throws. Sacramento earned 23 fast break points and limited their turnovers to 16.
Rudy Gay led his club with 28 points and grabbed nine rebounds (four offensive), while DeMarcus Cousins recorded 23 points (11-for-13 from the stripe), 15 rebounds, four assists, three blocks and six turnovers. Darren Collison scored 24 points, including a career-high five triples and added six assists.
“Darren, Rudy and DeMarcus, they had big numbers for us,” Corbin stated. “But the way he (Collison) controlled the tempo of the game, got us into our offensive sets, controlled the pace of the game for us, pushing at times, slowed it down at times when we needed to control the tempo of the game, I thought it was key for us.”
Sacramento held Oklahoma City to a 2-of-19 shooting start and 20.8 percent for the first quarter. The Thunder finished the night shooting 32.6 percent from the floor and lost 24 turnovers.
Kevin Durant carried his team with 24 points on 8-of-20 field goals and nine rebounds, while Russell Westbrook struggled. Collison’s former partner at UCLA produced only 10 points on 3-of-19 shooting and dished four assists to seven turnovers. In his Thunder debut, Dion Waiters recorded four points on 1-of-9 field goals.
“I can’t say enough about the way our guys defended tonight,” Corbin added. “Each one of those guys that defended Westbrook did a great job of making him work hard, Durant, making him work hard for anything he got. You’re not going to stop those guys, but I thought the individual guys on them and their supporting cast did a great job on making him see bodies and not letting him go off on us tonight.”
The win snaps a 12-game losing streak against the Thunder, and the Kings improve to 4-7 under coach Corbin. Sacramento hosts the Denver Nuggets (16-20) for the second time this season on Friday.
Notes and Analysis
- Darren Collison was an absolute force on both ends of the court tonight. The veteran guard shot 9-for-19 from the field and 5-of-10 from long range on his way to a 24-point, 7-assist night. On the defensive end, Collison held Russell Westbrook to just 10 points on 3-for-19 shooting.
- DeMarcus Cousins couldn’t find a rhythm in the post, but he decimated the Oklahoma frontline. Nick Collison nearly fouled out in 18 minutes, while Ibaka (four), Perkins (four) and Adams (three) all struggled with foul trouble. Cousins notched his 19th double-double of the season, finishing with 23 points and 15 rebounds, but he shot just 6-of-23 from the field and turned the ball over six times.
- Rudy Gay shot 9-of-19 from the field, but he finished with 28 points and nine rebounds in the win. Gay is averaging a career-high 4.5 assists per game, but tonight, he recorded only one. On the plus side, he went toe-to-toe with Kevin Durant and came out victorious.
- Carl Landry went off in the second quarter, dropping in eight points on 4-of-5 shooting in the period. The veteran has had trouble in the Kings’ new uptempo style, but when the Kings move into a halfcourt set, his jumper has been spot on.
- Ben McLemore struggled to get shots, but still finished with an efficient 11 points on 5-for-9 shooting. He was the fourth or fifth option tonight, but he held his own as a defender in a solid team win.
- Stat of the Night: Sacramento led by as many as 26 points and never trailed in this game. The Thunder shot just 32.6 percent from the field, turned the ball over 24 times and committed 25 personal fouls.
Quote of the Game
DeMarcus Cousins on beating Kendrick Perkins
“I was loving it. To speak on that, I was loving it tonight. I really want to go in and tell the truth about Perkins, but it’s not even worth it.”