The Oklahoma City Thunder overcame a 19-point deficit in the first quarter and led at the end of the third quarter. However, the Sacramento Kings opened the fourth quarter strong and never let up. The Thunder shot themselves out of it, losing 117-113 on Monday night.
It’s only the second loss for the Thunder since Oct. 25. The Thunder are now 10-6 on the season.
Westbrook had 29 points and 13 assists in his first game back in Billy Donovan’s lineup since Nov. 5. The seven-time All-Star had missed five games with a left ankle sprain, then left the team Saturday to welcome the birth of twin daughters that same night. He flew to Sacramento and rejoined the Thunder on Monday morning.
The Kings hit the Thunder hard and fast out of the gate. The Thunder fell behind 10-0 before they finally found the scoreboard themselves. Before anyone could catch their breath, Sacramento led 27-8.
“There was a lot,” said Westbrook, “the way we started and we got ourselves back in the game but there were too many open shots for them.”
The Thunder used a 12-0 run to get back into the game but trailed for much of it. They trailed by 13 at the end of the first and at halftime. It was the strong third quarter which gave Oklahoma City any chance in the game.
Oklahoma City cut the gap to 115-113 on Paul George’s fourth 3-pointer with 6.6 seconds remaining. Fox then made a pair of free throws to seal it for Sacramento.
George added 27 points and nine rebounds. Steven Adams had 11 points and 15 rebounds for Oklahoma City, which had been an NBA-best 10-1 over its previous 11 games.
“We didn’t shoot well,” George said. “They sped the game up. We were winning at one point and we didn’t finish this game out.”
Things got chippy early in the third quarter after Willie Cauley-Stein was fouled hard from behind by Westbrook while going for a layup. As he was going out of bounds Cauley-Stein appeared to shove Westbrook, who stumbled back before going after the Kings’ 7-foot center. Adams intervened and grabbed Cauley-Stein, who then shoved Adams while the two were underneath the basket.
Oklahoma City will play the Golden State Warriors in their next game. That’s a 9:30 p.m. scheduled tip-off. It’ll be on ESPN and on FS Oklahoma. We’ll have your complete game day coverage on all of our social medias.
Keys to the Game
Oklahoma City struggled to defend shooters. They let people like Buddy Hield get open numerous times in the motion of the King’s offense. It was unacceptable. Let’s be real: If Andre Roberson is playing, this doesn’t happen. However, the Thunder’s defense has to step up. They’ve been playing so well the last few weeks. This hopefully was an anomaly.
Free Throw: F
Oklahoma City fell back to earth with their free throw shooting. Oklahoma City went 11-of-16 from the like (68.8 percent). The bench attempted zero free throws. Zero. Insane. Oklahoma City has to do a better job of making shots and getting to the line.
Mainly Dennis Schröder but the Thunder’s bench was really bad. They were a combined 9-of-33 (27.3 percent). Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot continues to do well in his limited minutes but the Thunder’s bench as a whole was just abysmal. The Thunder have to be more consistent. That’ll help when everyone is healthy again.We invite you to follow Thunder Digest on Twitter and like Thunder Digest on Facebook. Don't forget to subsribe on Youtube! Our Podcast is on iTunes and on Stitcher. We also have a Thunder Digest Instagram account if you love fun Thunder photography!