Oklahoma City Thunder

Second Half Trouble Leads To A Loss For The Thunder In Sacramento

Craig Hofeld

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The Thunder continued their stint on the West Coast Wednesday night as they took on the Kings in Sacramento. Both teams had been playing pretty well in the lead up to this matchup. The Kings were on a small win streak including victories over the Mavericks and the Rockets. As for the Thunder, they were looking for their fourth straight win.

Offense was at a premium for both teams at the start of the game, but especially for the Thunder. The biggest advantage the Kings held over the Thunder was in the paint. They outscored OKC 16-6 in the paint during the first quarter. The Thunder shot 6-20 from the floor, and only 50% from the free throw line. Luckily, the defense for the Thunder held strong and only allowed 23 points.

After struggling to score in the first quarter, it’s as if the rim grew in size for the Thunder in the second twelve minutes. OKC started the game 2-9 from beyond the arc, but shot 7-11 in the second quarter. The Thunder also out-rebounded the Kings by a margin of 19-8 in the period. The Thunder continued to play excellent defense and took a 47-38 lead at halftime.

The Thunder let the lead slip away a bit in the third quarter, which has been a huge issue all season long. Whatever it is, it seems like OKC can’t come out of halftime with any momentum. The Thunder actually pushed the lead to 14 points, but then got outscored 19-7 in the final five minutes of the third quarter.

The fourth quarter has been by far the most dramatic quarter of the season for the Thunder thus far. Wednesday night was no different as this one came down to the wire once again. OKC led by 9 with six minutes to go, but the Kings weren’t done just yet. They went on a 14-3 run to take a 91-89 advantage with under a minute remaining. The Thunder went on to score four straight, but then Bogdan Bogdanovic hit a three to give the Kings a 94-93 lead with 13 seconds to go. Chris Paul had a decent look for a buzzer beater, but it didn’t fall and the Kings won this one by a point.

Thunder Player Of The Game

Abdel Nader has had a constantly growing role for the Thunder this season. He has worked his way into the starting lineup, and on Wednesday night he hit a career high 5 shots from beyond the arc. He was second on the team in +-, with a +9 overall. He recorded 15 points, and 4 rebounds. But the most impressive stat of the night was shooting 5-6 from three.

Denver On Saturday

The Thunder will now head to Denver to face the Nuggets on Saturday night. Denver hasn’t quite lived up to their hype this season, but they are still a very solid team. This will be another opportunity for OKC to test themselves against a playoff caliber team. The game will tip-off at 8:00 PM CST. It will be televised on FSOK, and broadcast on the radio at WWLS 98.1 FM.

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