Game 65 Preview: Kings at Thunder

The Sacramento Kings visit Oklahoma City for their last meeting with the Thunder this season.  The Kings lost their previous two to the Thunder, including an 11-point loss last Friday.

Gametime: 5:00 pm PST

Broadcast Information:  Click here.

For Thunder perspective, visit fellow TrueHoop Network blog Daily Thunder.

Kings Probable Starters (21-43)

Isaiah Thomas Marcus Thornton Tyreke Evans Jason Thompson DeMarcus Cousins

The Kings continue to await word on the status of DeMarcus Cousins for tonight’s game.  Cousins picked up his 13th technical foul of the season in Sunday’s win over Charlotte, which earned him an automatic suspension.  The Kings filed an appeal and are hoping the tech gets rescinded.

Thunder Probable Starters (46-18)

Russell Westbrook Thabo Sefolosha Kevin Durant Serge Ibaka Kendrick Perkins

James Harden is day-to-day after taking a vicious elbow to the head by former King Metta World Peace.  Harden participated in morning shootaround, however head coach Scott Brooks is mum on whether he’ll play Harden if the guard is medically cleared.  Since the Spurs have locked up the top seed in the West, Oklahoma City may be better off resting their star sixth man.

3-on-3 Roundtable

You may be familiar with ESPN.com’s 5-on-5 roundtables, which feature opinion and analysis from ESPN writers and TrueHoop Network contributors on pressing NBA topics. Along with other THN blogs, Cowbell Kingdom has brought that format to the local level in the form of our own 3-on-3 roundtable.

Royce Young of Daily Thunder and Matt Moore of Hardwood Paroxysm join me to preview tonight’s Kings/Thunder match-up.

1. Match-up to watch?

Royce Young: Russell Westbrook vs. whoever. Westbrook suffered through one of the worst shooting performances of his career Sunday, hitting just 3-of-22 from the floor. He’s not going to be a happy camper coming into this game. So whether it’s Jimmer, Isaiah Thomas, or whoever, Westbrook is going to want to get right.

Matt Moore: Tyreke Evans vs. Thabo Sefolosha. Evans is playing for contract. He’s going to want to send a statement to Kings management. Thabo’s an elite defender. This could get fun or miserable, in a hurry.

Jonathan Santiago:  Serge Ibaka vs. the Kings’ penetration.  I wonder if Sacramento will be gun shy when it comes to attacking the basket.  In three meetings against the Kings this year, Ibaka has averaged a gaudy 8.3 blocks per game.

2. Stat that decides the game…

Royce Young: Offensive rebounds. The Kings offense isn’t good enough to match OKC’s blow by blow. But they can create extra possessions and looks on the offensive glass.  If the Kings can score some easy points off second chances, they’ll have a shot.

Matt Moore: Effective Field Goal Percentage. Both teams can score in bunches. Whoever can do it more efficiently will determine the outcome.

Jonathan Santiago:  Fastbreak points.  Sacramento was outscored 27-12 on the break in last Friday’s meeting with Oklahoma City.  The Kings have to trim that margin or at least make this stat a wash in order to win.

3. Who misses more games: former King Metta World Peace due to suspension or James Harden due to injury?

Royce Young: Metta World Peace. I think the hammer is going to come down hard on him. Anywhere between 10-25 games wouldn’t surprise me.

Matt Moore: MWP. The NBA hasn’t spent all year polishing and pushing the new rules for concussions to let Ron Ron walk all over them. The book is getting thrown at him.

Jonathan Santiago:  Artest will probably miss more games, but Harden could be out for a few himself.  Francisco Garcia missed four contests after taking a shot to the head against the Clippers earlier this month.


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About: Jonathan Santiago

Jonathan Santiago serves Cowbell Kingdom as senior editor specializing in writing, podcasting and video production. He also handles the majority of CK’s day-to-day beat coverage of the Kings.