Game 35 Preview: OKC Thunder at Sac Kings

RudyFacingDownDurant


Game time: 7:00 p.m. PDT

Where: Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento, CA.

Broadcast Information: KHTK Sports 1140 (Radio), Comcast SportsNet California (Local Television)


Sacramento Kings Probable Starters (14-20)

PG: Darren Collison
SG: Ben McLemore
SF: Rudy Gay
PF: Jason Thompson
C: DeMarcus Cousins

Oklahoma City Thunder Probable Starters (17-18)

PG: Russell Westbrook
SG: Andre Roberson
SF: Kevin Durant
PF: Serge Ibaka
C: Steven Adams


Three things to ponder

1. Suffocation

The Thunder rank second in the NBA in opponent field goal percentage (43.0) and fourth in opponent 3-point percentage (32.6), and it’s no surprise why. Oklahoma City plays an active, gambling style on the perimeter, and their starting lineup features stoppers top to bottom. When the Kings hosted the Thunder on December 16, the first contest after Michael Malone’s firing, Sacramento was held to 42.9 percent from the floor and 27.8 percent from behind the arc.

2. Rudy Gay vs. Kevin Durant

What seems like a great matchup on paper is really a bully abusing a pipsqueak. Since Gay joined Sacramento, he and Durant have faced off twice, and the reigning MVP is a primary cause for the King’s recurring nightmares. Gay has allowed Durant to average 29.5 points on 73 percent shooting, while managing 6.5 points on 33.3 percent shooting for himself.

3. Fan support

Back from a 1-3 road trip against four losing teams, the Kings owe it to their passionate home crowd to be more engaged on defense and have each other’s backs. Likewise, after a tumultuous month which had playoff hopes ripped from their hands, Kings fans’ public support may become an issue.

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About: Rui Thomas

Rui Thomas is a writer and reporter for Cowbell Kingdom. He previously covered the Sacramento Kings and the NBA for Sports Out West. He is published by Sports Illustrated’s Truth and Rumors and Yahoo Sports NFL among others.