Live from the locker room: Kings vs. Thunder

Kevin Durant looks on from the bench as the Oklahoma City Thunder take on the Sacramento Kings. (Photo: Jonathan Santiago)

Here is the latest news live from Sleep Train Arena:

  • The Sacramento Kings (14-20) look to get back to their winning ways tonight at Sleep Train Arena as they host the Oklahoma City Thunder (17-18).  Sacramento is coming off a disastrous 1-3 road trip and they are still struggling to regain their balance after the firing of coach Michael Malone on December 14.
  • After a slow start to the season that included 23 missed games by league MVP Kevin Durant, the Thunder are 14-6 in their last 20 games and are right back in the playoff hunt in the Western Conference.  Needing another scorer to compliment Durant and Russell Westbrook, the Thunder acquired 23-year-old guard Dion Waiters from the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday, and he is scheduled to make his debut tonight against the Kings.  “He brings a toughness, he brings a scorer, he brings a competitor,” coach Scott Brooks said following shoot around.  “I like guys that are going to compete while they’re on the floor.  I like what he’s about.  We’re excited to have him.  He’s going to play tonight.  I don’t know how many minutes he’s going to play.  It’s going to take some time to integrate him with our system.  It’s going to take some time to integrate him with the group, even with me there’s going to be an adjustment period.”
  • Waiters is excited to get a fresh start after spending the last two and a half seasons in Cleveland.  “I was excited, new year, new start, what not,” Waiters said earlier today.  “I’ve just never been traded before, so it’s actually weird.  I’m happy it went through.  I get a chance to start over, come here, play for the city, the fans.  I’m excited to get going.”
  • Durant chimed in on the addition of Waiters as well.  “I just like his toughness, I like how he plays the game of basketball, simple enough,” Durant said.  “I’m excited he’s here and I’m sure he’s excited.  Tonight’s the first step, so we just have to keep getting better.”
  • DeMarcus Cousins is having an All-Star caliber season and tonight, he matches up against one of the stronger young centers in the league in Steven Adams.  The 21-year-old New Zealander puts Cousins in the “physical player category,” but that doesn’t change his approach to the tonight’s game.  “It doesn’t really matter what they do, it’s like what we have to do on defense to stop them,” the second-year big man said.  “That’s what I focus on – what I have to do to help us win the game.”
  • The Kings continue to play undermanned.  Omri Casspi (left knee bone contusion) and Ramon Sessions (lower back strain) are listed as out for tonight’s game.  Rookie forward Eric Moreland is out for the remainder of the season after undergoing successful surgery on his left labrum on Saturday.  Rookie Mitch McGary is out for the Thunder with left tibia inflammation.

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About: James Ham

James Ham is the 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 since 2010. Along with providing original content for the site, including the Cowbell Kingdom Podcast and his weekly Sunday Musings column, James also contributes to ESPN.com and is one of the producers behind the award-winning, independent documentary film "Small Market, Big Heart".