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2018-19 Thunder Preview

Thunder Knocks off Kings in Sactown Smackdown

Zachary Low

zacharylow88

The Oklahoma City Thunder picked up their third consecutive win as they knocked off the Kings in Sacramento 132-113.

On par with the first two matchup between OKC and Sacramento, the Thunder got off to a rocky start. The Kings had a pretty easy time finding points in the paint, Russell Westbrook picked up a technical foul fewer than 3 minutes into the game, and the Thunder turned the ball over 5 times in the first quarter. Despite all of the issues, OKC was able to hit 14-27 (51.9%) from the floor to take a 36-33 lead after a quarter.

The second quarter had a swing of momentum for the Thunder, but not before rookie Hamidou Diallo picked up a technical foul for arguing an offensive foul call. Midway through the period OKC picked it up, and a 17-2 run pushed the Thunder lead to 63-43 with just a little over 3 minutes left in the half. OKC pushed the lead to 22, but a questionable foul call on Steven Adams during a Buddy Hield 3-point attempt allowed Hield to knock down 3 free throws with a little over a second left in the quarter. At the half, the Thunder led 71-52.

The Thunder saw the lead swell to 23 at one point in the third, but the Kings fought hard to get back into the game by going on an 18-5 run to cut the deficit to 8 with just under 4 minutes left in the period. OKC was able to slow Sacramento down a little bit at that point, but the Kings were still very much in the game as the Thunder headed into the final frame with a 98-89 lead.

Paul George kicked off the fourth quarter with a 9-0 run on his own to open the game back up, and it was never really close after that. Russell Westbrook picked up his 112th career triple-double and 8th of the season with 19 points, 17 assists, and 11 rebounds (not to mention 6 steals), Steven Adams tallied his first ever 20-20 game with 20 points and 23 rebounds, Jerami Grant tied his career-high in points with 22 points, and Paul George racked up 43 points, 12 rebounds, and 7 assists as the Thunder cruised to a 132-113 win.

Box Score

Thunder Player of the Game

Take your pick from a number of Thunder players, as a number of them put up solid performances, but Steven Adams racked up his first ever 20-20 game with 20 points and 23 rebounds, which earns him Player of the Game honors. His performance down low limited what Sacramento was able to do in the paint, and the Kings had no answer. It’s time to put Steven Adams into the All-Star conversation.

3 Quick Thoughts

  • The Thunder Has the Best Starting Lineup in the NBA: Forget the Golden State Warriors and their four All-Stars. The Oklahoma City Thunder has the best starting lineup in the entire league. Missing both backup point guards tonight, the Thunder had to deal with some abnormal lineup changes, but the starters took care of business, and it did not affect the game whatsoever. The bench managed to score a mere 14 points, and Alex Abrines had 9 of those. When it come down to it, I’ll take the Thunder’s first 5 over any other 5 in the NBA.
  • Team Work Makes the Dream Work: For the 13th time this season, the Thunder recorded at least 25 assists, and in those games, OKC is 12-1. Russell Westbrook led the way with 17 assists, and Paul George added in 7 of his own. When your top 2 scorers are able to find teammates and get them involved in the offense, everybody wins, except for the Thunder’s opponent.
  • Dominating the Glass: The Thunder has been one of the top rebounding teams in the NBA for a while now, and they flexed their muscles tonight by outrebounding the Kings 66-43. The season-high 66 rebounds for OKC came primarily via Steven Adams (23), Paul George (12), and Russell Westbrook (11), but Hamidou Diallo grabbed 7 in 17 minutes, and Nerlens Noel had 4 in 14 minutes. The Thunder managed 60 points in the paint, which is undoubtedly a testament to the 18 offensive rebounds.

Slide On Over to Salt Lake City

Next up for the Oklahoma City Thunder is a matchup with divisional rival Utah Jazz on Saturday night. The Thunder defeated the Jazz 122-113 earlier this season in Oklahoma City, and the Jazz are near the bottom of the Western Conference standings at 15-17. Tip-off is set for 8 PM in Salt Lake City, and the game will be televised on FSOK. It will also be broadcast on the radio at WWLS 98.1 FM.

Be sure to follow @TheThunderGuys on Twitter and Instagram and like us on Facebook, and don’t forget to check out our latest episode of Thunder Things with the Thunder Guys on Facebook.

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2 Comments

    1. He deserves to be in the MVP conversation. He’s not a frontrunner or anything, but he’s putting up ridiculous stats. Also, Russell Westbrook is doing a solid job of contributing where necessary, not just where he feels like he has to, and that’s complimenting George in a wonderful way.

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