Game Preview: Kings (5-1) vs. Thunder (1-5)


That title felt really strange to type out. The Kings have five wins and one loss. The Thunder have one win and five losses. Who could have possibly predicted that a few months ago?

Oklahoma City has been demolished by injuries. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are going to miss a significant amount of time, but half their roster is either out or questionable for tonight’s game. The Kings probably should win this one, but that doesn’t mean its going to be easy.

Keys to the Game:

Keep Your Cool: DeMarcus Cousins has been the best type of monster this season. The only player who has been able to stop him is himself. He has to stay out of foul trouble, and with Rudy Gay questionable for tonight with a stomach virus; the Kings are really going to need him to play major minutes. Cousins has zero technical fouls this season, and if he can keep it that way going up against Kendrick Perkins and Steven Adams, I’d consider that major progress.

Don’t Take OKC Lightly: Despite the rough start, Oklahoma City is still a team to respect. If the Kings were expecting an easy win tonight, that would be the wrong approach. They still have playoff-tested veterans on that roster, and Oklahoma City always plays well at home.

Bench Advantage: When a team is decimated by injuries like the Thunder have been this season; whatever depth they thought they had disappears. They only played four reserves Friday night against Memphis, and every player on that bench unit had a negative +/-. The Kings need to play fast, tire out the Thunder starters, and take advantage of their short bench.

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  • The Line (5-1): The Kings are actually 1.5-point favorites tonight. When was the last time the Kings were favored on the road? In Oklahoma City? It’s been a while. I’ve been riding the Kings through this run, so why stop now? I’m taking the Kings -1.5.

    Final Thoughts: Considering the Kings 5-1 record, you may think a loss here wouldn’t be the end of the world, but the Kings need to bank these wins while they can. Everyone has talked about how hard the schedule has been, and is going to get. That is a real issue, and it’s coming. This is a winnable game. A tough game, but winnable. If the Kings really want to make some noise this season, they need to win the games they should win. This is one of those games.