Three Keys: Sacramento Kings Look To Upset Oklahoma City Thunder

Dec 6, 2015; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) handles the ball while guarded by Sacramento Kings forward Rudy Gay (8) during the second quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 6, 2015; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) handles the ball while guarded by Sacramento Kings forward Rudy Gay (8) during the second quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Sacramento Kings (13-20) had their way against the Phoenix Suns recently. Now they have a harder challenge of replicating the same results against the Oklahoma City Thunder (24-10) tonight in Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Right now the Thunder, lead by superstars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, are riding a four-game winning streak and have the third seed in the Western Conference standings. If the Kings are going to win tonight’s game and the upset the Thunder they must follow these three keys to the game.

Stopping Westbrook: For the season, the Thunder average 108.7 points a game, which is ranked 2nd in the league. Westbrook contributes 25.6 of those points, and considering Durant is reported out for tonight’s game he probably will score even more. For the Kings to be able to slow down the Thunder’s high-powered offense, they must attack the main source of it and contain OKC’s star player. Players on Sacramento like Rajon Rondo, Ben McLemore, and Darren Collison will have the responsibility of guarding the Thunder All-Star tonight, and will have to buckle up defensively to be successful.

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Limit Unforced Turnovers: The Kings currently are tied 27th in the league in turnovers per game (16.1). This is mainly due to unforced turnovers like high-risk passes, knucklehead fouls, and lack of communication between teammates. The Kings tonight, and going forward into the season, will have to resolve this problem by being more careful with the basketball. If unable to do so, it has caused them in the past to be frustrated and lose momentum in games, most likely resulting in a loss as well.

Chip On Shoulder: The last time Sacramento played in Oklahoma City they lost in a heartbreaker, but now they have the chance tonight to redeem themselves. The Kings must find ways to motivate themselves and play with effort in tonight’s game.

When the Kings have played with motivation this season they are competitive with any level of competition. On the other hand, when they haven’t been motivated they can lose to anybody. The Kings have picked and chose which games to play hard in this season and if they decide to take tonight off they will get blown out.

Next: Major Flaw Holding Back Ben McLemore's Game

Final Thoughts: If the Kings are able to hold down Russell Westbrook, restrict careless turnovers, and play with effort, they have a good chance of coming out with the win.

If there was a time the Kings were to beat the Thunder, it would be now. Kevin Durant, who averages 26.6 points a game, is reported to sit out this game and the Thunder will have the hefty task of trying to make up for his offense.

Overall, I do foresee Sacramento having a solid performance tonight, they usually do so against good competition, but also falling short of the victory. I think the team will play hard and do an alright job in taking care of the ball, but Westbrook will ultimately have his way.