Thunder Comeback Falls Short in Sacramento

Game #16 - Kings - Recap Stats

The Thunder got off to a cold start in Sacramento on Monday night, and in the end, it cost them the game as the Kings won 117-113.

The Thunder got off to a slow starts as the Kings ran off 10 quick points before Russell Westbrook was able to score for OKC. Sacramento kept the momentum up to take a 16-5 lead barely 3 minutes into the game, which forced the Thunder to call an early timeout.

The Kings continued their domination and pushed the lead up to 19 before the Thunder went on a 12-0 run of their own to cut it to 27-20 with a little over 3 minutes in the period. Sacramento finished the quarter strong, though, and after 12 minutes of play, the Kings led 37-24.

The Thunder were able to cook up a 10-0 run in the middle of the second quarter to cut the deficit to 4, but Sacramento answered quickly with a 14-4 run of their own to go up 58-44 with just under 5 minutes left in the first half. Iman Shumpert put up a ridiculous 23 points through two quarters, and at the half, the Kings held a 69-56 advantage over the Thunder.

The Thunder opened up the second half with significantly more energy as an 8-2 run through the first two-and-a-half minutes forced the Kings to call an early timeout. The run continued for OKC, however, and with 5 minutes left in the third, the Thunder had cut the deficit to 75-71 behind Hamidou Diallo’s 18 points.

Just a couple of minutes later, Steven Adams put in a shot at the rim to tie it all up at 75-75 with a little over four minutes left in the period. Both teams battled back and forth, and finally, with a minute-and-a-half left in the third, the Thunder took their first lead of the game off a couple of Paul George free throws. After outscoring the Kings 29-15 in the period, the Thunder led 85-84 with one quarter to go.

The Kings did not roll over, though, and they ran off 5 quick points to take an 89-85 lead to open the fourth. It was all Sacramento from that point forward as they caught fire from beyond the arc knocking down 5-9 (55.6%) to outscore OKC 33-28 in the final frame and win the game 117-113.

Game Log

Thunder Player of the Game

Hamidou Diallo started another game with Terrance Ferguson still out for personal reasons and Alex Abrines still dealing with illness, and he made the most of his 22 minutes. He had a rough start getting torched on defense over and over, so he was removed from the lineup, but as he re-entered the game midway through the second quarter, he went to work. By the time Diallo subbed out late in the third quarter, he had racked up 18 points on a perfect 7-7 from the field, including 2-2 from 3, as well as 2-2 from the free throw line. Hami has shown that he deserves to be on the court, and he should be seeing more time even when Ferguson and Abrines return.

3 Quick Thoughts

  • Stop Shooting the Three: For some reason, the Thunder has fallen in love with the three ball. Despite shooting a league-low 31.4% from 3 coming into tonight’s matchup, OKC put up a season-high 41 attempts, making just 12 of them. Paul George was an abysmal 4-14 (28.6%), and Dennis Schröder and Patrick Patterson combined to go 0-11 (0%). The Thunder falls to 4-5 on the season when shooting 32+ times from three, and they are 6-1 when shooting 28 or fewer. This team functions best when the defense forces turnovers and guys get to the rim for easy buckets, but nothing was falling tonight, so they settled for deep shots. This type of lazy effort cannot happen if they want to win games.
  • Where Was the Effort?: Speaking of effort, the Thunder were outplayed in a number of areas in the game. In spite of being one of the league’s top rebounding teams, OKC was outrebounded 59-53 by a below-average rebounding Sacramento team. The Thunder played from behind for most of the game, and in the end, it was their poor effort that cost them.
  • Short-Term Memory: Despite the bad loss, especially considering it was the second to the Kings in Sacramento already this season, the Thunder has to have a short-term memory and look forward to the next game. Starting on Wednesday, the Thunder has 3 games in 4 days, and no spotlight will be as big as the one on Wednesday night in Oakland against the Golden State Warriors. OKC has to shake off this ugly loss and move on to the next one.

Over to Oakland

The Thunder now heads to Oakland where they will face off against the Golden State Warriors for the second time this season. OKC dropped their season opener to the Warriors 108-100, but Russell Westbrook did not play that game. The Warriors have lost 3 consecutive and 5 of their last 7 in the midst of a Steph Curry injury and drama between Kevin Durant and Draymond Green. Tip-off is set for 9:30 PM CT and will be televised on ESPN and Fox Sports Oklahoma. The game will also be broadcast on the radio on WWLS 98.1 FM.

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