Oklahoma City Thunder (39-29, 23-11 home)

vs.

Sacramento Kings (21-46, 10-24 away)

Monday, March 12 :: 7:00 p.m. CST :: Chesapeake Energy Arena (18,203)
TV Coverage: FS Oklahoma (DirectTV 675, Cox 37, HD 722, Tulsa Cox 27)
Radio Coverage: 98.1 FM/640AM/97.1 Tulsa
View from the enemy: Here.
Line: The Oklahoma City Thunder are a 12½-point favorite. The over/under is 211.
Online Stream: FS OK | WWLS Sports AnimalLive Stats | Twitter | Facebook
Game Notes: Thunder: here | Kings: here

SETTING THE SCENE

  • The Oklahoma City Thunder have won back-to-back games as they host the hapless Sacramento Kings tonight for the Thunder’s Military Appreciation night.
  • Tonight is Oklahoma City’s second to last back-to-back. They’ll host another March 30-April 1.
  • Oklahoma City is 2-1 against Sacramento this season.
  • The Thunder are on the verge of their sixth three-game winning streak of the season.
  • The last time out, Oklahoma City escaped with a 110-107 victory on a Russell Westbrook buzzer beater.

FOLLOWING THE ACTION

  • You can catch the radio on Oklahoma City’s WWLS, 98.1 FM. Matt Pinto will be your play-by-play voice. If you’re in Tulsa, catch it on 1450 AM.
  • Tonight’s game is on ABC apart of their Saturday night series. Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy, Mark Jackson & Lisa Salters will be on the call.

SCOUTING THE SUNS

  • The Sacramento Kings are 21-46 on the season, 12th in the Western Conference.
  • In their last 10 games, the Kings are 3-7.
  • To be watched: Kings are 3-3 in their last six games.
  • In their last game, Sacramento lost to the Nuggets 130-104 last night.
  • Overall, Oklahoma City is 144-86 against Sacramento.
  • Since moving to Bricktown, the Thunder are 28-8 vs. the Kings.
  • When the games are played at Chesapeake, the Thunder are 16-1 all-time against Sacramento.
  • In their previous meeting, the Thunder beat the Kings 110-107 on a Russell Westbrook buzzer beater.
  • INJURY REPORT:
    Skal Labissiere (hip) is out.
    Iman Shumper (foot) is questionable.
    Harry Giles (knee) is out.
  • The Thunder’s largest margin of victory over Sacramento came on Feb. 15, 2011, where Oklahoma City prevailed by a score of 126-96 (30-point margin of victory).
  • Meanwhile, the Thunder’s largest margin of defeat (21 points) vs. the Kings occurred during an 104-83 loss on Jan. 7, 2015.

THUNDER INJURY REPORT

  • Andre Roberson (ruptured patellar tendon) is out for the season.
  • Terrance Ferguson (concussion) is out.
  • Steven Adams (ankle) is a questionable.

NEXT UP

  • The Thunder head to Atlanta for the second night of a back-to-back then they host the Clippers on Friday.
  • After Tuesday night, the Thunder will play 12 straight opponents over .500.

WHAT’S IN A ROYAL NAME

  • The Kings’ royal lineage stretches all the way back to the founding of the National Basketball League’s Rochester Royals in 1945.
  • Originally, the Kings were known as the Seagrams, you know the alcohol maker. That was the nickname of the Sacramento Kings, way back in the day (1923) when they were the Rochester Seagrams.
  • In 1945, a 15-year old by the name of Richard Paeth won an essay contest to name team.
  • The Royals retained their nickname after a move to Cincinnati in 1957 and became the Kansas City-Omaha Kings (soon dropping the Omaha) through a name-the-team contest in 1972.
  • The name remained unchanged when the franchise relocated to California in 1985.
  • Also, fun fact: Caitlyn Jenner, formerly known as Bruce Jenner was drafted in the seventh round by the Kansas City Kings in 1977.



Three Keys to the Game

Moving the ball

The Thunder and in particular Russell Westbrook need to keep the ball moving and make sure everyone stays in the game. When Westbrook has 10 or more assists the Thunder have a record of 23-11 when he has under 10 assists they are 16-18. The Thunder must move the ball in order to be successful Westbrook has to set the tone early in moving the ball and carry it throughout the game.

Be aggressive on defense

The Thunder need to be active and aggressive on defense. When the Thunder are locked in mentally on defense they are elite with Paul George and Russell Westbrook looking like elite cornerbacks. They’re  looking for opportunities to create deflections and steals. Steven Adams is protecting the paint. The Thunder’s offense is lethal on the fast break with Westbrook putting opponents on their heels and George and Anthony running right behind him for the trailer three.

Simply show up

They simply need to show up with the same mentality they do when they play the elite teams like the Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, and Cleveland Cavaliers. This season the Thunder have a record of 21-10 against teams with sub-.500 records they simply don’t show up with the same intensity or determination as they do when they face the top tier competition. This upcoming game against the Sacramento Kings is an important game for the Thunder, something Carmelo Anthony understands. Must beat hose dot dot dot teams.

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Chuck Chaney

Founder & Editor-in-Chief.
Member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.