OKC Thunder face Buddy Hield and Kings – preview

Week 19 served up five games in seven nights to the  OKC Thunder.  That was a heck of a turn from the scheduling Gods and included a little bit of everything.  Two back-to-back sets, opponents from both coasts and both ends of the seeding ladder, and familiar faces.

Although losing remained the order of the day, winning became took precedent on Tuesday in Boston. That was Luguentz Dort and Darius Bazley‘s focus as they were determined not to lose 15 games in a row and be strapped with that mark in Thunder lore. That the Thunder have spent weeks losing to other tanking teams didn’t matter. On April 27th in TD Garden it was time to end that streak. The victory also marked the club’s only win in April in 16 contests.

To finish the weekend, former OKC Thunder players Domantas Sabonis and Doug McDermott arrived at Chesapeake Energy Arena and seemingly started playing the game an hour before the home team arrived.  Sabonis registered a triple-double by the half and McDermott achieved a new career-high en route to the largest margin of victory by a road team in NBA history.

A night later, the Thunder returned to the hardwood to welcome former captain Chris Paul, and Westbrook’s favorite dance partner Cameron Payne. OKC dialed up their pride and almost claimed victory against Phoenix who moved to the top ladder rung in both the West and the association. In truth, it was the best of all scenarios because the Thunder youngsters pushed CP3 and his charges to the final shot and also collected the coveted loss.

OKC Thunder versus  Sacramento Kings – what you need to know

With seven games remaining the schedule serves up an oddity with six opponents from the Pacific Division and three games versus the Sacramento Kings.

The Kings have been playing spoiler of late with five wins in their last eight games.  A three-game sweep of the Mavericks occurred in this segment (notably Dallas won the six games between those defeats.

Incredibly, De’Aaron Fox, Harrison Barnes, and Marvin Bagley were each out for most of these victories. Bagley returned two games ago while Fox and Barnes are still out.

Rookie Tyrese Haliburton was carrying the playmaking load and was a big factor in leading the Kings to wins. But a freak incident (similar to how Bodgan Bogdanovic went down earlier this season) injured the youngster. He was scheduled for an MRI on Monday but no official injury update was posted (let’s hope no news is good news).

The Kings are four games back of the Spurs for the 10th seed which is why the trio of games versus OKC was an opportunity to scratch each other’s backs. Sacramento weeping the Thunder would meet our tanking needs and simultaneously help them move up.

But with Haliburton and Fox out that prospect becomes much more onerous.

Here’s are the game details…

Game specifics:

Records:

  • Thunder: 21-44
  • Kings: 27-37

The Venue: Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Tipoff:  8:00 PM ET  | 7:00 PM CT

TV: Fox Sports  Oklahoma | NBA League Pass

Radio: WWLS 98.1 FM OKC

Injuries:

Only three OKC Thunder players are listed on the NBA injury report but if we’ve learned anything this season this is a starting point only. Luguentz Dort isn’t listed but it wouldn’t be surprising if he sits to rest that hip strain.

OKC Thunder:

  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander – with seven games remaining it’s pretty safe to say the Thunder are going to let the plantar fasciitis fully heal with plenty of rest. No need to play SGA at this point and risk him sustaining a different injury.
  • Mike Muscala continues to be out with an apparent ankle injury.
  • Al Horford has been shut down for the season as a healthy scratch.
  • Aleksej Pokusevski is listed as questionable with a left knee contusion.

Kings:

  • Tyrese Haliburton knee injury is out
  • De’Aaron Fox remains out due to health and safety protocols
  • Harrison Barnes is dealing with tightness in his left adductor and is doubtful to play
  • Chimezie Metu has been dealing with lower back soreness and is questionable
  • Robert Woodard II also has lower back soreness but is ruled out for Tuesday.

History:

All-time these squads have met 238 times in the regular-season play. In those matches, the Thunder holds a healthy margin of wins with 148 compared to the Kings’ 90 victories.

Last year the clubs met on three occasions with the Kings winning two of the three contests. As noted, the oddity of this campaign is that OKC will pay Sacramento three times in their final seven games.

The other two meetings will occur in Sacramento on May 7th and 9th.