After falling to the Rockets on Saturday night, the Sacramento Kings draw an even more difficult opponent on Sunday in the Thunder. The Kings walk into Oklahoma City hoping to avoid a three-game losing streak and falling to 7-15 on the season.
Young shooting guard Ben McLemore had a breakout 19-point, nine-rebound performance against the Rockets on Saturday and the Kings need more of the same from the 22-year-old on Sunday. McLemore has struggled all season with consistency, but he has an opportunity to exploit a quality matchup against wing Andre Roberson.
George Karl needs a bounce back performance from big man DeMarcus Cousins as well. Cousins is averaging 20.3 points on 31.6 percent shooting over his last three games and he’s hit just 3-of-16 from deep during the stretch. Sacramento needs more from their All-Star center if they hope to take down a very good Thunder team.
The all-world duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook pace Billy Donovan’s Oklahoma offense that currently ranks second in the NBA in points per game at 108.2.
Thunder by 11
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Rajon Rondo vs. Russell Westbrook -- Rondo is fresh off a 19 assist game in Houston, but he’ll need to find a new gear on the defensive end if he hopes to compete with the dynamic Russell Westbrook. The Thunder’s lead guard comes in averaging 27.5 points, 9.6 assists, 7.3 rebounds and 2.4 steals per game. If Stephen Curry wasn’t leading the NBA in scoring and setting the pace for the 21-0 Warriors, Westbrook would be front and center in the MVP discussion.
WHERE THEY STAND
Kings: 7-14, fourth place in Pacific
Thunder: 11-8, first place in Northwest
Kings: C-F Willie Cauley-Stein (right index finger) out 4-6 weeks.
Thunder: PF Mitch McGary (ankle) questionable.
This is the first of four games between these two clubs this season. OKC won the season series 3-1 last year and are riding a 13-game home win streak over the Kings at Chesapeake Energy Arena. The Thunder hold a 138-82 advantage over the Kings all-time and an 81-46 lead during the Sacramento-era.
“I’m disappointed because I thought it was a good fight. We just have to find a way to make it go and get ready for tomorrow.” -George Karl following loss to Houston on Saturday night