Kings skid stretches to five after loss in OKC
SHORTCOMINGS IN THE SECOND HALF
The Sacramento Kings mixed things up Monday night in Oklahoma City, choosing youth over veterans to start the game. They hit the Thunder early with energy and speed, but they couldn’t sustain the intensity for 48 minutes and fell by a final of 95-88.
OKC’s big three of Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony and Paul George put up solid numbers and the Thunder’s third ranked defense tightened the screws on the Kings.
Sacramento’s offensive woes continue in the second half where they scored just 36 points after the intermission on their way to a fifth straight defeat.
Willie Cauley-Stein skies up for thunderous dunk in OKC
STANDOUT PERFORMER I
Westbrook is an angry superstar. On the cusp of a second straight season averaging a triple-double, the UCLA product dropped in a team-high 19 points to go with nine assists and 16 rebounds. On the downside, he turned the ball over 10 times and was tossed from the game at the 2:51 mark of the fourth after yelling at the officials.
STANDOUT PERFORMER II
Willie Cauley-Stein continued his strong play. Despite facing off with one of the NBA’s strongest players in Steven Adams, the third-year big still managed to score 15 points, grab seven rebounds and pick up three steals. He’s showing improvement almost every time he steps on the floor.
STANDOUT PERFORMER III
De’Aaron Fox went on the attack. The rookie point guard grew up watching Russell Westbrook, and on Monday night in OKC, he went toe-to-toe with the league’s MVP until foul troubled slowed the 20-year-old. Fox finished the night with 12 points, five assists in 26 minutes of action. His dunk to finish the first half was a thing of beauty.
After leading most of the first half, the Kings let the game slip away in the third quarter. OKC turned up the intensity and Sacramento struggled to keep up. The Thunder finished the third on a 13-2 run to take a big lead into the fourth. The Kings made a late run, but they couldn’t get shots to fall in crunch time as they dropped to 13-30 on the season.
Zach Randolph and Vince Carter sat out as healthy scratches against the Thunder. Kosta Koufos took a big shot to the chest in the second quarter, but returned to the game in the second half. Frank Mason III is out 4-6 weeks with a partial tear of the right plantar fascia. Harry Giles is out due to bilateral knee rehab and the team has yet to update his status moving forward.
The Kings return home to host the Utah Jazz on Wednesday evening before heading out on a long six game road trip beginning Friday in Memphis. They’ll spend the rest of January on the road before returning home February 2 to face the Golden State Warriors.