The Sacramento Kings came out red hot in Oklahoma City, pinning a 40 point first quarter on the Thunder. But even after shooting a scorching 82 percent from the field through the first 12 minutes, it wasn’t enough to stop Oklahoma City, who came away with a 118-110 victory.
Kevin Durant, the NBA’s leading scorer, finished with 32 points and nine rebounds in the victory. The Kings did a nice job of limiting Russell Westbrook, who finished with only 13 points, six assists and eight rebounds. Daequan Cook gave the Thunder a nice lift of the bench in James Harden’s absence (consussion). Cook scored 19 points on 4-for-7 shooting from long range.
DeMarcus Cousins matched Durant’s 32 after nearly missing the game due to suspension. The Kings starting center learned he was eligible to play shortly before the loss after his 13th technical of the season was rescinded. After struggling through a miserable year, Travis Outlaw had a break out game. He scored 20 points, grabbed seven rebounds and made four steals. Forward Jason Thompson scored 22 points and Tyreke Evans added 18 as the Kings dropped to 21-44 on the season.
Notes and Analysis
- Hats off to Outlaw. Coming into this game, Outlaw’s season-high in points was just 14. Coach Smart showed a lot of faith in Outlaw (although he has run out of options at small forward), giving him three consecutive starts down the stretch run. Outlaw has improved every game and will probably get the nod in Thursday’s season finale against the Lakers.
- Coming into this game, Serge Ibaka had 25 blocks against the Kings on the year. Both Thompson and Cousins seemed to take this personal on Tuesday night, as the duo combined for 54 points on 22-for-33 shooting. Ibaka finished with only a single block, while the Kings bigs had their way in the post.
- As the season has winded down, Donté Greene has quietly fallen out of Smart’s rotation. The combo forward had a highlight reel dunk in this game, but that was it. In a game where the Kings were extremely short handed, Greene went 1-for-4 from the field in just nine minutes of action. Greene is a fan favorite, but his status going forward is in serious doubt.
- Durant scored 32 points in just 32 minutes tonight. He has become probably the toughest player to guard in the NBA due to his size, length and quickness. I’m sure that coach Brooks would have liked to have given Durant even fewer minutes, but the MVP candidate is fighting for the scoring title against Kobe Bryant who gets to finish his season against the Kings on Thursday.
- Tyreke Evans appears to be getting comfortable in his role as the Kings shooting guard. This might eventually be the right fit for Evans if he can improve his perimeter shooting. He has the size to guard three positions, but bigger small forwards have given him issues as he attempts to transition to the wing. If the Kings can convince Marcus Thornton to embrace a sixth man role next year, the Kings could have a very formidable backcourt with Isaiah Thomas, Evans, Thornton and Jimmer Fredette.
- Stat of the Night: The depleted Kings bench scored just seven total points on 3-for-11 shooting. In contrast, the Thunder received a healthy 48 points from their second unit in the win.
The Kings were without Terrence Williams due to illness. Williams joined Thornton (thigh contusion), Salmons (hip) and Whiteside (ankle) on the sidelines.