The Oklahoma City Thunder were back at home and facing the Sacramento Kings. They knew before the game that Westbrook was going to play, but just prior to tip off, Reggie Jackson was withdrawn due to a sprained back. It marked the first game that Jackson has missed all season, but with Russ back in the lineup, now was as good a time as any to secure a night off.
From the opening tip it looked as though the Thunder might be able to cruise through to an easy win. They racked up 32 points in the first quarter and a renewed defensive focus limited the Kings to just 15 of their own. OKC were able to do a solid job denying DeMarcus Cousins the ball and making life on the low block difficult.
The offense flowed through Durant who scored a game high 29 points but he was ably assisted by the rest of the Thunder team. Westbrook added 18 points with 6 assists and Jeremy Lamb made the most of his extended minutes dropping in 13 points.
Sacramento clearly missed point guard Isaiah Thomas who was ruled out of his second straight game due to a quad complaint and while rookie Ben McLemore and journeyman Travis Outlaw tried their best – scoring 18 and 17 respectively – it wasn’t an overly efficient evening for the Kings.
With the game comfortably in hand, Durant and others were able to get an extended rest and were not required for the final term.
Although it was an easy win at home and against a short handed team with a losing record, the Thunder would still be very happy with the manner in which they got this W. The defensive focus and limiting the Kings to 36.5% shooting is a very positive result.
Moving towards the playoffs, the Thunder need to shore up that defense and this win was a step in the right direction. The Thunder have a night off and will then take on the Utah Jazz.