There was something about this game that made it seem like it was always about the Kings. It would be the only nationally televised game for Sacramento this season and they took advantage of it, beating the team with the NBA’s best record 106-101.
Even when the Thunder were leading in the second half, the night was just always about Sacramento. Kings legend Chris Webber was announcing the game for TNT and received a standing ovation from the crowd at one point. The play-by-play talk centered mostly around how the Kings are trying to become the next Oklahoma City.
The Thunder still shot themselves in the foot dropping this one. They turned the ball over 23 times and gave up 17 offensive rebounds.
It was a total team effort by the least looking “team” in the NBA. Tyreke Evans led the way with 22 points while DeMarcus Cousins added 19 points and nine rebounds (four offensive).
The Thunder got good games from Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook but only two points from players on their bench not named James Harden.
Westbrook led the team with 33 points (16 in the third) but also had seven turnovers. Durant scored 27 and Harden added 17 (14 in the first half).
The Thunder offense was awful down the stretch. Every possession resulted in an isolation in the final minutes of the game as Scott Brooks seemed obsessed with going one-on-one with Durant.
The Thunder came into the game third overall in points per possession in the NBA and first in isolation PPP but turnovers and poor defensive rebounding led to 22 more field goals attempted by the Kings.
The loss masked another brilliant night by Serge Ibaka on defense as he blocked 10 shots for the second time this season, tying his career-high. However, Ibaka would foul out late in the fourth quarter.
The loss is devastating by no means for the Thunder and reminiscent of their loss against Washington. It’s easy to fall asleep and not perform your best when you’re matched up against a team like Sacramento and that’s what happened here tonight.
The Thunder (20-6) will be on national television again Friday night on ESPN when they travel to Salt Lake to take on the Utah Jazz (13-11).