Home is where the heart is. Unfortunately, it’s not where the wins are. The Sacramento Kings have yet to come out on top on their home floor this season, dropping their first three games at Golden 1 Center. Waiting for them is a struggling, but dangerous Thunder team.
Sacramento is riding a seven-game losing streak, but they seemed unfazed by the skid. George Hill is back with the club after missing Saturday’s loss to the Detroit Pistons due to personal reasons. It’s a young group looking for an identity and hopefully a win.
The “Big Three” of Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony average a whopping 61.7 points per game. OKC is posting 104.3 points per game (19th), but they’re holding their opponents to just 97.1 points a night, good enough for second best in the league.
Thunder by 10
MATCHUP TO WATCH
De’Aaron Fox vs. Russell Westbrook -- Westbrook was Fox’s favorite player growing up, which is probably not a good thing. The rookie was clear following practice on Monday that it’s just another opponent, but we’ll see. Fresh off an MVP season, Westbrook has taken a backseat to his All-Star cohorts. That won’t last long. Fox won’t get the start, but he’ll be asked to play big minutes against one of the most dominating players in the game.
WHERE THEY STAND
Kings: 1-8, fifth place in Pacific
Thunder: 4-5, fifth place in Northwest
Kings: PF Harry Giles (bilateral knee rehab) out.
Thunder: No injuries to report.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH
OFFENSE VS. DEFENSE -- OKC is hanging their hats on defense early in the season, allowing just 97.1 points per game. The Kings are a team that rank 29th in scoring and last in 3-point attempts. It’s a recipe for disaster, unless Sacramento had an offensive epiphany during practice on Monday.
DIRTY GLASS -- The Kings are one of the worst rebounding teams in the league, averaging just 39.6 boards per game. Effort is a major issue. So is personnel. If the bigs can’t get the job done, the guards and wings needs to work as a team and clean the glass.
GROWN MEN -- Dave Joerger was quick to point out on Monday that the Thunder are a group of seasoned adults. Will the kids get out and run or will they allow OKC’s vets to dominate the action?
OKC won the season series 2-1 last season, including the final two. The Thunder hold a 142-85 all-time lead over the Kings and an 85-49 advantage in the Sacramento-era.
“I’m definitely looking forward to it, but I don’t want to go out there and just be like, ‘that’s Russell Westbrook.’ I’m going out playing another point guard. You know exactly what he can do. He’s extremely explosive. He does everything on the floor. You kind of take a different approach as far as adjustments and game planning, but after that, you just go out there and play basketball.” -De’Aaron Fox on playing Russell Westbrook.