The Sacramento Kings can score, but they have yet to figure out the defensive end. They are coming off a 149-129 loss at the hands of the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday evening and still looking for their first win of the season.
Sacramento will face an Oklahoma City Thunder team that is struggling to find an identity without star point guard, Russell Westbrook. But the former MVP will make his season debut on Sunday, head coach Billy Donovan announced.
Pregame show on NBC Sports Bay California begins at 3:30 p.m., with tip-off scheduled for 4:00 pm.
Following the game, the Kings finish off their three-game road trip with a stop in Denver to face the Nuggets on Tuesday. They’ll return home to Golden 1 Center to play the Memphis Grizzlies on the second night of a back-to-back on Wednesday.
Line: Thunder by 10
Projected Starting Lineup
PG De’Aaron Fox
SG Yogi Ferrell
SF Buddy Hield
PF Nemanja Bjelica
C Willie Cauley-Stein
PG Russell Westbrook
SG Terrance Ferguson
SF Paul George
PF Patrick Patterson
C Steven Adams
SG Bogdan Bogdanovic (left knee) OUT, C Kosta Koufos (hamstring) OUT.
PG Russell Westbrook (knee) has been cleared to play and won't be on a minutes restriction.
Coach Dave Joerger is looking for answers after a poor defensive showing against the Pelicans on Friday. He turned to rookie Marvin Bagley III early in both the first and third quarters against New Orleans, playing the big a team-high 32 minutes in the loss.
De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield and Willie Cauley-Stein have all put up big numbers in the team’s first two games and should be expected to play 30 plus minutes a night early in the season. Frank Mason came off the bench to put up 18 points and dish out six assists last game, but his minutes will likely fluctuate greatly early in the year.
Zach Randolph is out of the rotation and not expected to see playing time for the foreseeable future.
Billy Donovan is using a focused nine-man rotation early in the season with rookie Hamidou Diallo playing sparingly as a 10th man. That might all change if Westbrook returns to action.
Patrick Patterson is in the starting lineup playing stretch four alongside big man Steven Adams. Patterson’s shooting ability creates plenty of space for Adams to go to work in the post. Paul George has been carrying the scoring load with Westbrook out of action.