NBA Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, December 14th
(All times Eastern)
Sacramento Kings (7-14) at Oklahoma City Thunder (18-4), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Oklahoma City Thunder put a nine-game winning streak on
the line Friday night when the Sacramento Kings come to Chesapeake Energy
The Thunder's last loss came at Boston on Nov. 23 and this is the fourth
straight at home for Oklahoma City. During this run of spectacular play, the
Thunder have won by an average of almost 15.0 ppg, although that number is
somewhat tainted by the 45-point embarrassment against the Charlotte Bobcats
on Nov. 26.
The Thunder have soared to the best record in the NBA and with a win on
Friday, they would have their first 10-game winning streak since the franchise
moved to Oklahoma City.
They had a tough time of it on Wednesday in a 92-88 victory over the New
Orleans Hornets. The Thunder trailed by eight at the half and pulled away late
for their 18th victory.
"We're a veteran team," said Kevin Durant, who scored 35 points in the win.
"We've been through it before and we know that. We've been through games where
we weren't making shots and we let it affect our defense. Every time we were
at the huddle we kept saying to just keep sticking with the defense and the
offense will come around."
The offense came around with 56 points in the second half. The Thunder only
shot 43.7 percent from the field, but held the Hornets to 39.8 percent.
The Thunder are 12-2 at home. The Kings are 1-8 on the road and that lone
victory came Saturday night in Portland against the Trail Blazers. Since the
win, the Kings have lost two straight and Friday's tilt will end a four-game
Sacramento lost 98-85 Wednesday to the Milwaukee Bucks. With DeMarcus Cousins
suspended for an incident in Monday's setback to the Dallas Mavericks, the
Bucks outrebounded the Kings by 10. The Kings, who are fifth in points in the
paint, missed Cousins as their bigs only managed 22 points.
Ball movement was a big problem for the Kings on Wednesday. They only managed
14 assists as a team, but made 32 baskets.
"Guys took it upon their own to try and make a play themselves. That's not
conducive to our basketball team," said head coach Keith Smart. "This was a
night where we didn't move the ball."
Tyreke Evans led the Kings with 17 points off the bench. John Salmons had 16
and Aaron Brooks chipped in 10.
The Thunder have won 12 of their last 14 against the Kings and Sacramento has
never won in Oklahoma City.
12/14 10:40:49 ET