CK Press Box Report: Kings 106, Thunder 101

by Jonathan Santiago & James Ham

In front of a sellout crowd and a nationally televised audience, the Sacramento Kings stunned one of the NBA’s elite, beating the Oklahoma City Thunder 106-101 at Power Balance Pavilion.

Tyreke Evans led the way for the Kings with 22 points, but the hero of the night was Marcus Thornton.  The Kings shooting guard hit two clutch three pointers before fouling out with less than 30 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

“We stuck in there with a great OKC team and played hard down the stretch,” said Thornton postgame. “We got stops that we needed.  We got buckets when we needed to.”

Center DeMarcus Cousins scored 19 points and grabbed nine boards for the Kings, who have now won four of their last five games.

“It was very fun,” said Cousins of the raucous atmosphere in the arena formerly known as ARCO. “We kept the crowd involved and they kept us going.  They helped us get a big win.”

Thunder All-Star Russell Westbrook scored a game-high 33 points, but turned the ball over seven times.  Teammate and fellow All-Star Kevin Durant chipped in 27 for the Thunder in just their sixth defeat this season.

Notes and Analysis

  • Evans finished the game with an impressive, almost rookie-season-like 22 points, five rebounds and five assists.  It took him 21 shots to score those 22, but he kicked in four steals to even all that out.
  • Cousins barely missed another double-double tonight, finishing with 19 points and nine rebounds.  He was a beast in the paint, but got in foul trouble early, which limited him to just 28 minutes.
  • The Kings’ bench put together a solid effort, outscoring the Thunder’s bench 34-19 tonight.  Donte Greene led the charge with 10 points in 16 minutes off the pine.
  • Russell Westbrook was incredible in the second half.  After scoring 11 through the first two quarters, he erupted for 22 after the intermission, including 16 in the third quarter alone.
  • James Harden was the reverse of Westbrook.  The clubhouse leader for NBA Sixth Man of the Year scored 14 points in 16 first-half minutes, but finished with just 17 points in 34 total minutes.  Credit John Salmons for his incredible defense on the Thunder guard.
  • Kevin Durant makes everything look extremely easy.  The NBA’s third-leading scorer hit his average with 27 points and looked like he could have scored more.
  • Serge Ibaka tied a career-high 10 blocked shots in just 30 minutes of action.  Oklahoma City totalled a franchise-record 17 blocks on the night.
  • While the Thunder out-shot the Kings 48 to 40 percent Thursday evening, the Kings attempted a staggering 22-more field goals (99-77).
  • Stat of the Night: The Kings committed 12 turnovers tonight and gave up just 10 points as a result.  Meanwhile, the Thunder turned the ball over 23 times, leading to 28 points off turnovers for Sacramento.  Westbrook led the way with seven for the Thunder, while the Kings starting backcourt of Evans and Thornton combined for eight.

Audio: Kings co-owner Gavin Maloof post-game with James Ham




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