Photo credit: @SacramentoKings
By Charlie O. Mallonee
The Sacramento Kings suffered their fifth loss in a row as the Oklahoma City Thunder won 95-88 at Chesapeake Energy Arena on Monday night. The Kings’ losing streak may not end anytime soon with their intensified commitment to player development continues.
Sacramento went with a very young starting five on Monday night. Dave Joerger tapped Skal Labissiere, Willie Cauley-Stein, Bogdan Bogdanovic, De’Aaron Fox and Garrett Temple to start the game. Temple was the only starter who was not playing on his original NBA contract and he played just under 18 minutes in the game.
Buddy Hield and Justin Jackson saw significant playing time coming off the bench for Sacramento. Veteran point guard George Hill played just over 24 minutes, but that may be the Kings trying to showcase Hill for a possible trade. There have been persistent rumors that the Nuggets have real interest in picking up Hill who has become expendable with the emergence of Frank Mason.
The Kings played well in the first-half and actually held the lead at halftime 52-46. De’Aaron Fox and George Hill each scored 10 points in the half to lead the Sacramento scoring attack.
As it has been so often this season, the third quarter was the Kings downfall. The Thunder outscored Sacramento 31-16 in the quarter. Carmelo Anthony put up 15 points for OKC shooting 5 for 11 in the period. The Kings used nine players in the quarter but only three of them scored. Willie Cauley-Stein posted seven points, Bogdan Bogdanovic scored six and Garrett Temple recorded three points.
The Kings had a glimmer of hope in the fourth quarter when Russell Westbrook received back-to-back technical fouls and was ejected from the game with 2:51 remaining to play in the contest and the Thunder leading 91-80.
Sacramento was never able to cut the Oklahoma City lead to less than seven points and wound up losing the game 95-88. The Kings are now 13-30 on the season and reside in last-place in the Western Conference. The Thunder’s record improved to 24-20 which puts them in fifth-place in the Western Conference.
Stars of the Game
- The “Big Three” for OKC take the honors and that is really no surprise. Carmelo Anthony scored a game-high 20 points shooting 7 for 19 and grabbing nine rebounds as well. Russell Westbrook posted a double-double with 19 points and 16 rebounds. Paul George put 18 points in the book.
- Steven Adams receives the award for “mouth of the game”. The big man did not stop chirping at the officials throughout entire contest. If Westbrook was ejected for going overboard with his complaints, Adams should have received the same punishment. The constant negative chatter directed at the officials has to stop. Adams scored 13 points shooting 5 for 11 from the floor, but he hit only 3 of 12 from the charity stripe.
- Buddy Hield led the scoring attack for Sacramento. Hield came off the bench to score 16 points in almost 28 minutes on the floor. Hield shot just 6 for 15 and was 0 for 5 from behind the 3-Point line. He was a perfect 4 for 4 at the free throw line.
- Willie Cauley-Stein had another strong game. The Kings starting center played 39 minutes and 52 seconds in the game and scored 15 points. He hit 6 of 13 field goal attempts while pulling down seven rebounds and adding three steals.
- The Thunder out-rebounded the Kings 58-37. Of their 58 rebounds, 18 came on offense. Those 18 offensive rebounds turned into 13 second chance points for the Thunder.
- Turnovers: OKC had 20 TOV but they led to just seven points for Sacramento. The Kings committed 15 turnovers which the Thunder turned into 18 points.
- The Kings had a 15 point lead at one point in the game.
- SAC scored 13 second chance points converting 5 of 6 opportunities.
- The used 10 players in the game including Georgios Papagiannis.
SAC will host the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night at the Golden 1 Center. The Kings will then head out on a six game road trip – the longest of the year.
OKC will host the Lakers on Wednesday night.