November 7, 2017, 3:32 am
The Kings (1-8) return home to Sacramento to battle Russell Westbrook and the Thunder (4-5) as they look to snap their seven-game losing streak.
Ending that streak will be no easy task against a team like the Thunder who have some talented players to unleash. However, the they’ve been quite inconsistent to start this season and are still showing signs of growing pains with all the new faces.
OKC have wins against the Bulls, Bucks, Knicks and Pacers. While they’ve lost to teams like the Wolves (twice), Blazers, Jazz and Celtics. The Thunder lack depth and that’s something the Kings can look to exploit, but shutting down three All-Star level players will be the biggest challenge.
Westbrook has been inconsistent early on, but he does have three triple-doubles already. He’s only shooting 44.4 percent from the field which isn’t terrible, but it’s a little low due to the fact he has nights where nothing drops. In addition to this he turns the ball over at a high rate, five times per game in fact.
The Thunder’s offseason additions have been decent but also have nights where they fail to do anything noteworthy. Carmelo Anthony is averaging over 20 points per game on the season but has failed to register over that mark in the last three games. Being ejected against the Blazers didn’t help his case.
Paul George started the season slowly but has since come to life. Over his past three games he’s averaging 24 points per game on 46.6 percent shooting from the field. He’s been locked in from deep too hitting 3.7 threes each night over that same span.
Apart from those three, the Thunder don’t have much else to offer. Steven Adams is quietly putting together a solid season with averages of 12.4 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.3 blocks in 31 minutes per game (67.6 percent from the field). Adams has been consistently good for them and he doesn’t look like slowing down anytime soon.
For the Kings, George Hill (personal) is set to return after missing the previous outing against the Pistons. De’Aaron Fox will slide to the bench but this shouldn’t effect his impressive start to the season.
Containing the big-three of Westbrook, Anthony and George will be key, but the biggest thing for the Kings will be simplifying the game and sticking to the fundamentals. That’ll be on Dave Joerger to enforce, but it’s on the players to execute that and come out of the gate strong.
Sacramento can’t afford to come out slow again because getting in a hole against the Thunder will be almost impossible to dig out of. The Kings need to make adjustments and avoid this happening at all costs, otherwise they won’t be winning games anytime soon.
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP
PG – George Hill
SG – Garrett Temple
SF – Bogdan Bogdanovic
PF – Zach Randolph
C – Willie Cauley-Stein
Harry Giles (knee) – OUT
HOW TO WATCH
When 7:00 pm. PST (10:00 EST)
Where: NBC Sports California