Game Recap: Kings vs. OKC

Starting Line-ups

Kings

Reserves:  Luther Head, Francisco Garcia, Samuel Dalembert, Carl Landry, Omri Casspi, Darnell Jackson, Pooh Jeter.

Inactives:  Jermaine Taylor.

OKC

Reserves:  Cole Aldrich, James Harden, Nenard Krstic, Eric Maynor, Nick Collison, D.J. White, Royal Ivey.

First Quarter Recap

The Kings scored first in this one on a second chance basket by Tyreke Evans.  When the ball moved and the Kings players cut, the offense looked good.  The Kings have a major size advantage over the Thunder and in the first quarter, they used that size to hang tough with one of the West’s best teams.  The Kings, and more specifically Tyreke Evans, did a great job of staying in front of Russell Westbrook, holding the young point guard to four points on 2-7 shooting.  At the end of the first, the Kings led by one in a back and forth battle.

Kings  22  OKC 21

Leaders

Kings-   Cousins/Udrih (6) Points;   Cousins (6) Rebounds;   Thompson/Cousins (2) Assists.

OKC-   Durant (7) Points;   Ibaka (6) Rebounds;   Durant (3) Assists.

Second Quarter Recap

The Kings went heavily to the bench to start the second and quickly fell behind the Thunder by double digits.  When Westphal went back to his starters, the Kings quickly climbed back into the game.  The Tyreke Evans of last season appeared in the second quarter, using his size and strength to take anyone and everyone off the dribble.  The Kings starting back court of Udrih and Evans came to play, combining for 30 points on 14-23 shooting.  In a hotly contested quarter, the Thunder pulled away at the end to take a seven point half time lead.

Kings  46  OKC 53

Leaders

Kings-   Evans (16) Points;   Cousins (9) Rebounds;   Cousins (3) Assists.

OKC-   Durant (13) Points;   Ibaka (8) Rebounds;   Maynor (5) Assists.

Team                  Kings         OKC

FG%                     47.8%          47.7%
Rebounds         20                  24
Assists/TO        8/5               14/5

Third Quarter Recap

The Kings held tough in the third on the back of rookie big man DeMarcus Cousins.  DMC paced the Kings with eight points and five rebounds in the quarter, which helped to make up for yet another slow second half start by Tyreke Evans.  Evans, who scored a team high 16 points in the first half, threw up a goose egg in the third while his counter-part Russell Westbrook hurt the Kings with seven points of his own.  Through the first 36 minutes, the Kings seemed to be holding their own and only trailed the home team by five points.

Kings  67  OKC  72

Leaders

Kings-   Evans/Cousins (16) Points;   Cousins (14) Rebounds;   Evans (4) Assists.

OKC-   Westbrook (19) Points;   Ibaka (9) Rebounds;   Durant (5) Assists.

Fourth Quarter Recap

The fourth was a disaster.  After fighting hard for three quarters, the Kings laid down in the fourth.  The Thunder began the quarter on an 11-1 run to push their lead to 15 points.  After leading the way early in the game, DeMarcus Cousins picked up three fouls, missed a shot and turned the ball over- all in the first three minutes of the fourth.  Tyreke Evans rejoined the action and helped the Kings cut the Thunder lead back down to six after a 9-0 run.  The Thunder responded with an 8-0 run of their own and ran away from the visiting Kings.  Rookie DeMarcus Cousins finished strong, scoring 19 points and grabbing a career high 16 rebounds.  For the second game in a row, the Kings bench was outscored big time.  Led by Nick Collison and James Harden, the Thunders’ bench outpaced the Kings bench 32 to 19 and the home team beat the Kings by 15.

Kings Lose.

Kings  87  OKC 102

Leaders

Kings-   Evans (22) Points;   Cousins (16) Rebounds;   Evans (6) Assists.

OKC-   Durant (24) Points;   Ibaka (10) Rebounds;   Westbrook (6) Assists.

Team                    Kings         OKC
FG%                       42.7%          48.1%
Rebounds            42                  43
Assists/TO           15/15          23/13

Player of the Game: The high scoring duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.  The Thunders’ super star and his side kick were too much for the Kings to handle, scoring a combined 45 points on 16-32 shooting.  More than the points they scored, the tandem required so much attention that other players were able to break free for quality games as well.

The Difference Maker: Nick Collison.  I never thought I would type those words, but the Kansas product put up an impressive 12 points and 8 rebounds.  The offensively limited Collison hurt the Kings with his hustle rebounds and put backs in crucial moments of the game.

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About: James Ham

James Ham is co-owner and senior editor of Cowbell Kingdom, providing extensive Kings coverage through news analysis, in-depth interviews with players and staff and daily coverage of breaking news. Along with providing original content for the site, including the Cowbell Kingdom Podcast and his weekly Sunday Musings column, James also is one of the producers behind the award-winning, independent documentary film "Small Market, Big Heart".