Oklahoma City Thunder head to the Power Balance Arena to take on the Sacramento Kings – NBA Preview
On Friday night, the Oklahoma City Thunder make their fourth stop in a five game road trip at the Power Balance Arena, Sacramento.
The Thunder have been shaky in the second half the season and as things stand, they are currently 0.5 games behind the resurgent San Antonio Spurs, who won their last five game by an average of 18.2 points.
OKC have struggled in the month of April and have so far lost 5 of their last ten games, the last loss coming against the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday. However, on Friday, they will be up against a team which a paltry 20-42 record
– second worst in the Western Conference – and one which they thrashed by 115-89 in Oklahoma City last Friday.
To make it worse, the Kings will come into the night fresh from a 127-102 mauling received at the hand of Spurs. The Kings have had a tendency to implode in the second half all season long and that is what they did against the
Spurs. Up against a more athletic and younger side on Friday, they will certainly have their work cut out.
The only thing that might give the Kings some confidence going into the night is that they have beaten the Thunder before this season in the first game of the series on February 10. That night, the Kings forced OKC into 23 turnovers
and also outscored them 60-34 in the paint, but still managed to win by only 5 points, 106-101. The Kings are not short of intensity and size, but they will need to shut down the OKC bigs, Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins, to stand a chance on the night.
Even if they do that, the perimeter shooting of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook remains a big threat. And then is James Harden, the man who is almost certain to win the Sixth Man of the Year award this season. Harden has been
in the form of his life off late. In the last game against the Phoenix Suns, the reserve forward exploded with a career high 40 nights.
He did not play last time when these teams met and his addition will certainly take a lot of scoring load off KD and Westbrook.
For the Kings, there are so many talented players, but for one reason or another, they have not managed to be consistent. DeMarcus Cousin, Marcus Thornton, Tyreke Evans and rookie Isaiah Thomas has all shown shades of brilliance
this season, but their individual performances has so far failed to add up. On Friday night, if this pool of talented youngster wants to punch above its weight, they will have to play as a team and with discipline.
Holding OKC otherwise is not a possibility.