Photo credit: NBAE/Getty Images
By Charlie O. Mallonee
The Sacramento Kings kicked off a three-game road trip in Oklahoma City versus the Thunder on Friday night. The outcome was no surprise as the Thunder defeated the Kings 94-81. The win improved Oklahoma City’s home record to improve to 30-7. Sacramento’s road record dropped to 10-26. The Thunder have won seven of their last 10 games. The Kings have lost seven of their last 10 games.
The Thunder were led by Kevin Durant who scored 29 points in just 29 minutes on the floor. Durant was nine for 11 from the field, a perfect eight for eight from the free throw line while recording six assists, two steals and two block shots. Russell Westbrook put up 18 points and Jeremy Lamb added 13 points.
The Kings leading scorer was Ben McLemore with 18 points. McLemore hit on five of 16 shots from the field, hit three 3-pointers, distributed three assists and recorded two steals. Ray McCallum started at point guard with Isaiah Thomas out for the second straight game. McCallum put up 13 points while dishing out five assists. Both McLemore and McCallum recorded 45 minutes of playing time in the game.
Travis Outlaw had another big night. Outlaw posted 17 points hitting on five of six 3-point shots. Rudy Gay added just seven points in a limited outing of just 21 minutes of playing time. DeMarcus Cousins battled foul trouble and put just four points in 17 minutes on the floor.
The reduced playing time for Gay and Cousins may have also been pre-planned by Kings Coach Michael Malone. This was not a game that the Kings were expected to win. Sacramento plays Dallas on Saturday and the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday. A rested Gay and Cousins could help the Kings pick up a victory in one of those two games.
The Kings shot just 36.5-percent (31 for 85) from the field but shot 50.0-percent (9 for 18) from 3-point range. The Kings shot below average from the free throw line at just 62.5-percent (10 for 16). Sacramento out-rebounded the Thunder 49-38. The Kings recorded 17 assists but turned the ball over 16 times.
The Kings left after the game for Dallas where they will play the Mavericks on Saturday night. The Mavs are 43-30 on the season and are currently in ninth-place in the Western Conference. Dallas is one game behind the Phoenix Suns for the eighth and final playoff spot.