Game 22 Notes: Missed Free Throws Hurt Sacramento Kings Against The Oklahoma City Thunder


Despite the tenacious efforts the Sacramento Kings showed in Oklahoma City, they wind up with another heartbreaking loss, this time to the Thunder 98-95.

Notable players from last night for Sacramento were Rudy Gay who scored 20 points, Darren Collison with 16 points, and Rajon Rondo with 10 assists.

Overall, the Kings played a well balanced game, as both their offense and defense were solid for the most part. But their inability to make free throws hurt them immensely down the stretch.

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For the game, the Kings finished shooting 18/30 from the charity stripe, including a sequence where DeMarcus Cousins missed two from the line that would have added to a Kings lead in the final minutes. The Kings poor free throw shooting played a big part that resulted in the loss for this game, but there were also other aspects where they struggled.

The Kings perimeter shooting was also a part of the game where they underproduced last night. Usually the Kings are efficient from beyond the arc (ranking 5th in 3P% in the league), but only shot 7/24 from the three point line last night. It wasn’t just the free throws that separated the Kings from a win to a loss.

On a brighter note, a positive to take away from last night’s game was the defense of the Kings. Considering the struggles the Kings have had this season defensively, plus playing a team consisted of two All-Stars in Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, we expected the game to be high scoring. But the Kings defense actually buckled down, only allowing the Thunder to score 98 points, shoot 40.7% from the floor, and 27.3% from the perimeter.

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Defense has been a struggle for the Kings this season, but last night could be the turning point for their defensive woes. It’s important to remember that it’s only the 22nd regular season game that the roster has played together, therefore the chemistry/communication, even on the defensive end, will take patience to develop. Hopefully last night’s performance will carry forward for the purple and white going into the rest of season.

To conclude, the free throw and perimeter shooting struggled for the Kings last night in their loss, but their defense was surprisingly competent. If the defense for Sacramento can start to compliment their already high-powered offense on a consistent basis, more wins should  start to come the Kings way going forward.

Next: Post Game 21: Kings Fall To Rockets

Next matchup for Sacramento will be back at Sleep Train Arena, where they will be playing the Utah Jazz. The Jazz this season have shown to be a competitive team so far, which means that the Kings will have to have a strong performance in attempt to beat another tough opponent.