Matchup: Oklahoma City Thunder vs Sacramento Kings
Records: Thunder (19-10), Kings (16-14)
Where to Watch
Date: Thursday, Dec. 20
Time: 8:30 am
TV: Sony Ten1
Location: Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, CA
After a short 1-3 four-game slump, the Thunder seemed to be back on track with consecutive home wins over the LA Clippers and the Chicago Bulls. Since, their 0-4 start to the season, Oklahoma City has won 19 of their next 25 games (76%), good for best the winning percentage in the league in this period.
In 21 games played, Westbrook is currently averaging a triple-double - 20.7 points, 10.7 rebounds, 10.0 assists (leads the league), and 2.5 assists (leads the league). Meanwhile, George is having a career-year, averaging career-highs in points (24.9), rebounds (7.8), assists (4.3), and steals (2.2).
So far, through 29 games, Oklahoma City has the best defense in the league with a defensive rating of 101.7 and this is without arguably their best perimeter defender in Andre Roberson, who is expected to return from a knee injury in early January.
Everything's looking up for the Thunder right now but there is another test coming up. Nine of their next eleven games, starting with this game in Sacramento, are on the road.
Maybe not as good as Oklahoma City but things are looking up for the Sacramento franchise. For the first time since the 2004-05 season, the Kings have a record better .500 after 30 games.
De'Aaron Fox playing like the league's best sophomore combined with the improved play of Buddy Hield and Willie Cauley-Stein has spurred the franchise along to its start in over a decade.
Going by the numbers, Sacramento is easily the most improved team this season. Just have a look:
|Last Season||This Season|
|Points per game||98.8 (30th)||115.4 (4th)|
|Field Goal %||45.0% (22nd)||47.9% (3rd)|
|Fast Break Points||10.4 (20th)||22.3 (1st)|
|Points in the Paint||43.5 (22nd)||52.9 (4th)|
|Points off turnovers||15.2 (24th)||20.9 (2nd)|
|Pace||95.59 (30th)||105.32 (2nd)|
The numbers speak for themselves.
Despite all the chatter and media buzz surrounding Dave Joerger's comments on Luka Doncic and the Kings' decision to pick Marvin Bagley III, there's no denying the difference he's made to the team this season.
- The hosts Sacramento Kings have gone 7-6 in their 13 previous home games. On the other hand, the Oklahoma City Thunder have gone 7-7 in their 14 road encounters.
- Heading into the game, Andre Roberson (Kneecap) is the only guaranteed absentee for the Thunder. Tyler Davis (Ankle) is a game-time decision.
- For the Kings, their rookie Marvin Bagley III (Knee) is expected to surely miss the game. Meanwhile, they have two players that are game-time decisions - Iman Shumpert (Hip) and Bogdan Bogdanovic (Foot).
Last Time They Played
Date: Nov. 20, 2018
Score: Thunder 113, Kings 117
Thunder: Russell Westbrook - 29 points, 13 rebounds, 7 assists, and 3 steals
Kings: Iman Shumpert - 23 points, 4 steals, and 3 rebounds on 50% shooting