Thunder Drops Home Opener in Embarrassing Loss to Kings

Game #3 - Kings - Recap Stats

Despite Russell Westbrook’s impressive regular season debut, the Oklahoma City Thunder fell to the Sacramento Kings 131-120 Sunday night in Oklahoma City.

Rapid Recap

On the first play of the game, Russell Westbrook kicked the ball to an open Paul George, who hit a three to give the Thunder an early lead. The lead wouldn’t last, however, as the Kings took over, going up by as much as seven in the first quarter. Oklahoma City battled back, however, to exchange leads with Sacramento, and after 12 minutes of play, the Kings held a narrow 34-32 lead.

The second quarter was not pretty to start  as there were not a lot of points scored through the first three minutes of the period, and the teams were tied at 38-38. The Kings took the lead right after that, and they poured on the scoring for the final nine minutes of the first half. The Thunder defense had no answer for Sacramento, and at the half, the Kings pushed their lead to 68-56.

The third quarter was more ugly before it started to get better as the Kings pushed their lead to 17 points midway through the period. Paul George caught fire, though, and his eleven third-quarter points cut into the deficit to make it 97-90 at the end of the third.

The Thunder looked like they were primed to make a comeback in the fourth quarter in several situations, but they could not get within six, and despite Russell Westbrook and Paul George’s best efforts, Oklahoma City fell to 0-3 to start the season for the first time in franchise history.

Box Score

Thunder Player of the Game

Russell Westbrook had an impressive debut on Sunday night as he put up a pretty typical stat line for the Brodie. He finished with 32 points on 13-23 (56.5%) from the field, including 1-6 (16.7%) from three, and 5-11 (45.5%) from the free throw line, as well as 12 rebounds and eight assists. Westbrook looked winded at times, however, so he may need another game or two get his legs back in order to be at full strength.

3 Quick Thoughts

  • Enough with the Deep Ball: Despite coming into the game shooting just 24.3% from three through two games, the Thunder managed to put up a ridiculous 39 attempts from beyond the arc tonight. Had they made more than nine of the attempts, maybe the game could have gone another direction, but shooting 9-39 (23.1%) from three is just unacceptable. This team has to accept the fact that outside of a couple of guys, they are just not a knockdown shooting team. They have to find other ways to be successful, or this will not be the last ugly loss of the season.
  • Make Your Free Throws: Last season, the Thunder struggled from start to finish with making free throws, and it appears as if this will continue to be a problem this season. 30 attempts from the charity stripe yielded just 19 points as Russell Westbrook and Steven Adams missed a total of 10 attempts between the two of them. Adams isn’t a very good free throw shooter, and Westbrook played in his first game since last season, so perhaps this game will be an outlier, but one thing is for certain: games will be won and lost by free throws, and if this team doesn’t start shooting a percent somewhere in the mid-70s, it’s going to be a long season.
  • Is It Time For Billy D To Go? Only three games into the season, Thunder fans are already calling for Billy Donovan’s head. They want the man fired, and who can blame them as Oklahoma City is off to the worst start in franchise history. Still, a lot can change in a short amount of time, and perhaps the calls for a new coach this early in the season are a bit much. Either way, Donovan’s seat has to be warming up, and if he doesn’t start making some serious changes, like perhaps starting someone else at shooting guard over Terrance Ferguson, then he very well may be on his way out.

Bring on Boston

The Thunder will look to pick up their first win of the season on Thursday, October 25th against the Boston Celtics. The Thunder will play host to the Celtics, who are 2-1 on the season and have a matchup with the Orlando Magic on Monday night. Tip-off is set for 7 PM, and the game will be televised on TNT and FSOK. The game will also be broadcast on the radio on WWLS 98.1 FM.

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