Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Sacramento Kings – NBA Preview
The match between two extreme poles of Western Conference, Oklahoma City Thunder and Sacramento Kings is scheduled at Chesapeake Energy Arena on Friday.
Sacramento are on a 6 game losing streak and are grounded on the last spot in Western Conference, they will be missing the playoffs for the 6th consecutive season.
Kings ostensibly handed a 106-101 defeat to OKC on February 9, as surprising as it is, they survived Kevin Durant’s 27 and Russell Westbrook’s 33 and made a strong comeback in the 4th to accomplish the herculean task.
They are holding a conference worst 5-25 road record. Dropping another game will result into the season high 7 game skid. The odds are not in their favour as OKC has edged out Kings in 6 of last 7 matches including all 5 at Oklahoma
"Since our team is so young, when things are going good, they are going great. When things aren't going well, we get exposed," forward Jason Thompson said. "We just have to get where we finish games strong."
On the contrary Thunder couldn’t hold against the substantive teams like Miami Heat, Memphis Grizzlies, Indiana Pacers and most recently Los Angeles Clippers.
The match against Clippers went down the line but ended up in a disappointment for OKC. James Harden, who collected 17 points in the match said that they are focused on the post season games.
“You're going to have to win games in the playoffs, no matter who you play," James Harden said. We’re not worried about that. We just want to close these remaining games out and then go from there."
Even though Thunder have two NBA top scorers Kevin Durant (who also is a front runner for MVP) and Russell Westbrook but it’s their impervious defence that allowed them to secure a postseason place this early. They held their opponents
to just 42.5% shooting though out the season.
It was their superior defensive play that allowed them to take 35-18 first-quarter lead on Monday. OKC
Coach Scott Brooks concurred that.
"I thought our defensive mindset was outstanding from the start,"
The duo (Durant and Russell) will have to pick up the pace to avoid losing another match at home.
Despite facing snags they have devoured the week links, their last two victories were against Toronto Raptors and Milwaukee Bucks.
Kings and Thunder will be having two more matches before the end of this regular season, for now Sacramento has an upper hand 1-0 against Thunder.