Russ buries Kings at the buzzer
WESTBROOK BREAKS HEARTS
SACRAMENTO -- In their first game coming out of the break, the Sacramento Kings looked awe-struck early, falling behind the Oklahoma City Thunder by 23 after 12 minutes of action. And then they came alive.
Behind a packed Golden 1 Center crowd, the Kings rallied, shaving the Thunder lead to just seven at the break. They continued their surge in the third, taking a five point lead into the final frame.
Riding the broad shoulders of 36-year-old Zach Randolph, the Kings kept it close all the way down the stretch, but reigning MVP, Russell Westbrook drilled a triple from the top of the key as time expired to give the Thunder a 110-107 victory.
Shot of the Game: Westbrook drains a dagger at the buzzer
STANDOUT PERFORMER I
Zach Randolph and Steven Adams went at each other all night.
The ageless wonder put up huge numbers against one of the NBA’s strong men, finishing the night with 29 points and 12 rebounds. Adams answered the Kings’ 17-year veteran with 18 points and 11 rebounds in an epic battle of the bigs.
STANDOUT PERFORMER II
Buddy Hield stuffed the stat sheet. Normally just a scorer, Hield went to work against the Thunder.
The second-year guard posted 19 points to go with 10 rebounds and four assists off the Kings bench. More of this Buddy, please.
STANDOUT PERFORMER III
The big three of Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony and Paul George didn’t disappoint.
Westbrook finished the night with a triple-double. Anthony hit seven 3-pointers and George led the way with 26 points.
This game was over in the first quarter and then the Kings woke up. After trailing by as many as 23 early, Sacramento gave a scrappy effort to make it a contest.
With one second remaining in regulation, rookie Justin Jackson tossed in a putback to tie the game. One second was all the Thunder needed. Westbrook caught the inbounds pass from Anthony on the ensuing possession and drilled a 3-pointer from the top of the key as time expired to silence the crowd and send the Kings home with another loss on their home floor.
Skal Labissiere (left shoulder strain) and Frank Mason (plantar fascia) both returned to action after missing extended periods of time. De’Aaron Fox (conjunctivitis) and Kosta Koufos (illness) sat out. Iman Shumpert continues to miss games due to plantar fasciitis and Harry Giles (knee rehab) is out for the season.
The Kings continue their three game homestand Saturday when the Los Angeles Lakers roll through Sacramento. They finish up with Minnesota on Monday before flying to Portland to face the Blazers on the second night of a back-to-back.