SACRAMENTO -- Stayin’ alive.
With four games remaining this season, the Kings' play-in dreams are hanging by a thread. On a beautiful Mother’s Day night Sacramento pounced all over the lowly Oklahoma City Thunder, thoroughly demoralizing the Western Conference foe by a final of 126-98.
Veteran Moe Harkless was a catalyst early, helping to lead the Kings to a 16-0 run in the first quarter to foreshadow what the remainder of the game would look like.
Darius Bazley put in 18 points and six rebounds for OKC, but he was one of the few standouts for the Thunder (21-48) in their seventh straight loss.
Here are three takeaways as the Kings (38-30) bounced back from Friday's disappointing loss to the San Antonio Spurs.
The Kings didn’t trade for Harkless for his offensive prowess. He’s a long defender who understands his role. With three of the Kings top scorers on the shelf and Buddy Hield on a bad wheel, Harkless filled a need Sunday.
Harkless got it going from the perimeter. Harkless got it going from the line. Harkless put people on posters.
The veteran forward scored 18 points on 5-of-12 shooting from the field and 3-for-6 from long range on 3-pointers. Harkless is a free agent at the end of the season and the Kings would be foolish to not at least try to bring him back in the fold. He’s long, athletic and fits the roster's age arc as a 27-year-old.
Everyone scores, everyone wins
Harkless wasn’t the only King who had a big night. Almost like they were taking turns, one player after another got it going.
Marvin Bagley finished the night with 13 points and nine rebounds. Richaun Holmes chipped in 15 points on 7-of-9 shooting. Buddy Hield knocked down 4-for-10 from 3-point range for 14 points. Delon Wright stuffed the stat sheet once again with 15 points, seven rebounds and five assists, while Terence Davis dropped in 18 points and six assists off the bench.
In all, eight players scored in double figures for Sacramento in running up the score on OKC.
Tanking at its finest
The 2021 NBA Draft is star-studded. The top five could all be All-Star level players and there are a few others with huge potential.
Sacramento threw caution to the wind and tried to land a play-in spot. So far, that isn’t looking all that wise, but there is still a chance for the Kings with four games remaining in the season.
OKC chose a different path, and it could pay tremendous dividends later this summer. The Thunder are finishing out the season with a list of players that even the most devoted fan has trouble coming up with. But it has worked.
The Thunder have the third-worst record in the league, and they can’t wait for the lottery balls to drop in the hopper.