Game 34 Notes: Sacramento Kings Finally Win One In OKC

Jan 4, 2016; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Sacramento Kings forward DeMarcus Cousins (15) drives to the basket in front of Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams (12) during the first quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 4, 2016; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Sacramento Kings forward DeMarcus Cousins (15) drives to the basket in front of Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams (12) during the first quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Sacramento Kings (14-20) beat the Kevin Durant-less Oklahoma City Thunder (24-11), 116-104.  Even though it looked like the Thunder were going to blow out the Kings in the first quarter,  Sacramento was able to break a 14 game losing streak in Oklahoma City.

DeMarcus Cousins‘ 33 points and a season-high 19 rebounds and Kevin Durant being out of the lineup both helped in the Kings win. Durant was out with a sprained right big toe. Kings fell behind early 31-14, but Cousins led a 17-0 run scoring eight points, giving Sacramento the lead 68-66 at halftime.

In the second half it seemed the Kings always had a response for the Thunder. The Kings went with the slower combination of Boogie and Kosta Koufos under the basket to great success. Sacramento owned the paint and put tenacious defender Steven Adams in foul trouble. The Kings won the battle of the boards 48-39 and they outscored OKC in the paint 50-40. 

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Russel Westbrook, who was co-Western Conference Player of the Month with his Thunder teammate Durant, had a scorching first half with 12 points and 11 assists. But virtually disappeared in the second half finishing the game with 17 points and 15 assists.

Game highlights include:

  • Rajon Rondo had 13 points, 19 assists and nine rebounds just missing a triple-double
  • Rondo also had 6 of the Kings 15 Turnovers
  • Willie Cauley-Stein, back after an injured finger, looks like he hasn’t lost a step with good defensive plays and a couple of rim-bending dunks.
  • WCS injured a (different) finger on his right hand in the fourth quarter. He received three stitches.
  • Marco Belinelli scored 21 points
  • Rudy Gay scored 16, with two nail-in-the-coffin free throws and a lay-up late in the game to help put the game away.
  • Darren Collison had another solid game off the bench adding 14 points

Omri Casspi did not play due to a back issue. Ben McLemore went out at halftime with his own strained back.

Marco Belinelli has been playing well in the last three games, shooting 24 for 41, with a .585 field goal percentage. He’s also shooting 40% from the three-point line. This has a lot to do with Rondo being able to find him set and wide open for high-percentage shots. The two guard line-up of Rondo/Collison has also continued to produce well on the court.

The three game losing streak last week, especially the loss to the lowly 76ers, seems to have lit a fire in the Kings who have played with urgency the last two games. However, they still seem lost on the court at times. Their defensive switching has gotten better, but is still not good. And at times the offense struggles with bad passes, unforced turnovers and contested shots. But winning changes everything,  and the Kings just got their first win ever in OKC.

The Kings next take on the Mavericks tonight, the second in a back-to-back, in Dallas.