Preview: Sacramento Kings at Oklahoma City Thunder (Battle Of The Stars)


After being unable to finish a close game against the Rockets in Houston, the Sacramento Kings will look to bounce back immediately against the Oklahoma City Thunder tonight.

With a record of 11-8, Oklahoma City sits at third place in the Western Conference standings, which means another tough opponent that Sacramento will have to face in the early season.

The biggest focus that the Kings should have is obviously playing better defense. But to be more specific figuring out how to contain the lethal duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.

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According to Basketball Reference, Durant this season is averaging 28.2 points a game, while Westbrook is averaging 27.5 points. They are the top two scorers on their team by a landslide, as the third best scorer is Serge Ibaka averaging just 12.9 points. If the Kings are able to handle their own against these two superstars, it can potentially give the Thunder fits on the offensive end.

This means players like Rajon Rondo and Ben McLemore will have to play stout defense to contain Westbrook, while guys like Rudy Gay and Omri Casspi will have to buckle down as well against Durant.

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On the offensive end the Kings Big 3 of Rondo, Gay, and big man DeMarcus Cousins will have to bring their A-game. When the Kings have won this season, the numbers of these three have been astounding. In wins this season, Cousins has averaged 31.7 points and 10.7 rebounds, Gay 25.4 points and 6 rebounds, and Rondo 15.6 points, 11.1 assists, and 7.1 rebounds a contest. If the Big 3 as a group can have a great performance offensively, it will help greatly in beating the Thunder’s defense.

Overall, if the Kings stars can outplay the Thunder’s, Sacramento can make this a competitive game. Most likely the Kings offense will play solid tonight, so that means the bigger focus will be to contain Durant and Westbrook. Obviously this is easier said than done.

For the first 21 games so far in the season, fans have echoed the same struggles the Kings have had on defense over and over again as the reason preventing Sacramento from winning games. If the Kings want to get the victory tonight, a good defensive outing is a must for them to achieve it. 

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Final Note: Since the Thunder moved to Oklahoma City, Sacramento has never won a game in the Chesapeake Energy Arena in 13 tries (per Gary Gerould).