After a blowout loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday evening, the Sacramento Kings will try to snap a three-game skid against the Oklahoma City Thunder tonight. The Thunder, an assumed tanker at the start of the season, are currently riding a hot streak, having won three consecutive games, and four of their last six, including a pair of victories over the playoff-bound Los Angeles Lakers. Oklahoma City is young, unafraid, and buoyed by a young star in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and the Kings cannot afford to overlook another low-win opponent as they did with the Spurs a few days ago. This is the sort of game that a good, or even average, team wins handily.
When: Friday, November 12th, 5:00 PM PST
Where: Paycom Center, Oklahoma City, OK
Radio: KHTK Sports 1140 AM
For Your Consideration
Oklahoma City isn't particularly good, nor are they particularly bad, and that's the exact sort of team this Kings core has struggled with over the past several years. The Thunder aren't unskilled enough to simply run over with no effort, a la the Pelicans, nor are they talented enough to bring out the best in an inconsistent Sacramento squad. Expect a battle tonight.
Unlike the Kings, who can somewhat recover when De'Aaron Fox has a bad offensive performance (or ten), the Thunder live and die by their young star, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, a two-way threat who can drive, shoot, and defend with the best of them. Outside of SGA, OKC doesn't do much offensively. They can't shoot worth a lick, as they've knocked down just 30% of their three-point attempts this season, and Gilgeous-Alexander is their only starter who's currently hitting more than 27% of his attempts from beyond the arc. Overall, Oklahoma City sports the 29th-ranked offense in the NBA, averaging under 100 points per game. If the Kings can get hot from the outside early, they may run the Thunder out of the gym before things really get started.
Because the Thunder don't have the explosive scoring abilities of most NBA teams, they rely on defensive tenacity and solid rebounding to find wins. Over their last six games, of which they've won four, Oklahoma City has held their opponents to just 102.5 points per game, using the length of players such as Gilgeous-Alexander, Darius Bazley, Luguentz Dorts, and others to disrupt perimeter play and shut down opposing offensive game plans. De'Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, and the rest of Sacramento's guards must not be careless with the rock and allow the Thunder's poor scorers easy buckets in transition with live-ball turnovers.
From Sacramento's perspective, a change to the starting lineup needs to be considered, assuming that Tyrese Haliburton misses his third straight game with back soreness. The lineup of Fox-Hield-Harkless-Barnes-Holmes has been outscored by 17 points in just 18 minutes of play, the worst mark of any group for Sacramento this season. Adding to that concern is the need to try and stop Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Oklahoma City's only real offensive threat. De'Aaron Fox isn't a committed defender, Buddy Hield is Buddy Hield, and Moe Harkless isn't quick enough to stop an up-and-coming star guard like Gilgeous-Alexander. Conversley, sliding Davion Mitchell into the starting lineup would provide Sacramento with a true perimeter-stopper, and Mitchell's lack of offensive polish wouldn't be as noticeable against a poor scoring team such as the Thunder.
De'Aaron Fox has another strong offensive performance, Buddy Hield lights up the Thunder for 30+ points, and Richaun Holmes ties Aleksej Pokuševski into a nice little bow and gifts him to Luke Walton as a thank you for playing him more than seven freaking minutes in the first half.
Kings 118, Thunder 102
A question shall be potentially answered tonight: Are the Kings at THAT point in the season already?
Seriously. If the Kings lose tonight, it is already a failed road trip and Walton could very well be gone before Thanksgiving.
Gee, if it got Walton the axe, I would call that a very successful road trip.
You are on fire!
Amick was on Ham’s podcast.
It doesn’t seem that Luke’s seat is very hot at all, no matter what happens on this road trip.
Maybe folks have short memories, but McNair strongly endorsed Walton, which ties them together, in my mind. If Walton has to go, I guess McNair gets away without too much damage, but I have to think that’s not a good look for Monte either.
I guess it depends on where you think McNair’s comment falls on the line that runs from Insincere Company Man to He’s Taken the Truth Serum from Kill Bill.
There’s a way to address an issue like retaining Luke Walton without saying something that’s the opposite of the truth. I don’t think it’s unreasonable on the rare occasion that McNair speaks that he’s more Jen Psaki and less Sean Spicer.
That’s an accurate assessment, I’d say, but I’ve been unable to find any reason for McNair retaining him other than that Ranadive wants Walton to work for the salary. If anything, McNair started a clock on bouncing Walton when McNair said that Walton would be the one to get the team back to the playoffs.
I’m hoping that
It’s not a great team for a variety of reasons, but it could be pretty good if there was any leadership from the bench.
I feel Luke will be gone by Christmas with Gentry in as interim. A full head coaching search will be done next summer.
If that’s the case then I’m hoping for a loss.
I’m curious how tonight goes. Is this another 9 game losing streak in the making?
We don’t need another hero
We don’t need to know the way home
All we want is life beyond the Regular Season
I’m gonna lose my marbles if Tyrese is on the sidelines wearing a Shawn Michaels shirt again.
OKC is three-game win-streaking;
Together their young studs are peaking.
Still we should be better,
Fend off this upsetter,
And forestall Kings fans further freaking!
Just want to take a moment to say I always appreciate your pre-game rhymes, Jman. 🙂
If SGA is on the floor, Davion should be on the floor. This will greatly increase the Kings chances of winning the game. Keep it simple, Luke.
This team has proven that once again they are capable of losing to anyone that owns a basketball.
Big loss and beginning of the end for Walton
Is this the beginning of the beginning of the beginning of the end for Walton? I’ve lost track of how many times we’ve thought this by this point… The way Walton fails upward, we’ll be saying this once he has the GM job, too!
It’s the beginning of the possible middle, which might lead to nearing the finish
Three weeks into the season and I don’t really care one way or another if I catch the game tonight. It’s not a record, but it is definitely early in the season for this level of apathy to kick in.
I’ve been hearing Jones say “live-ball turnovers” a lot in the broadcast. Other than getting a technical during a stoppage, what the hell constitutes a dead-ball turnover? The former just seems redundant.
I would assume that any turnover that involves stoppage of play and inbounding the ball from the side line would be a dead ball turnover, as opposed to say a steal where play isn’t stopped. That’s just a guess on my part though.
Thanks, all, that makes good sense!
From google: “A live ball turnover is when the ball stays in play such as a stolen pass, while a dead ball turnover occurs when the ball must be inbounded like after a travel. Usually live ball turnovers are worse for a team because they can more easily lead to a fast break”
Live-ball typically means the ball stays in the field of play after the turnover – like a stolen pass. Dead-ball turnovers are when the opposing team must restart the possession – travels, double-dribbles, balls thrown out of bounds, etc.
The Kings are a different team when Haliburton is on the floor. I am hopeful he plays tonight.
OT: I don’t have Stein’s substack but if the Pistons are interested in acquiring Bagley, Monte but keep his phone on him, even if all they are offering is a paper bag full of sprouted potatoes.
Sounds like Cade for Bagley straight up, A tough but fair deal for us I suppose.
Looking at their roster, if the options are along the lines of Kelly Olynyk (currently injured and at 2/$25m w/ a 3rd yr. buyout) or Josh Jackson/Cory Joseph, I’d rather send Bagley home and ride it out.
Diallo seems to have fallen out of favor with them, so I guess you could do Diallo/Jackson?
Yeah, I’d rather ride it out as well. Nothing on Detroit’s roster peaks my interest. That being said, it would be very Kangz to re-acquire CoJo in order to get Bagley off the roster.
If you can get a second round pick out of Detroit, maybe you do the deal and just cut the incoming players. Zero desire for Cory Jospeh 2.0, and less desire to acquire Josh Jackson.
Isaiah Stewart and Josh Jackson works and saves the Kings ~2.5 million. Not sure the Pistons want to give up their starting center, but I don’t think they have a ton to lose, and if you’re going to acquire Bagley, you might as well play him.
They could have done the Stewart/Jackson deal already. They have to wait until after 12/15 for the likes of Olynyk, Diallo (1/14 for him), CoJo, Trey Lyles, and a few others.
Also, Detroit’s ’22 2nd round pick is heading to SA.
There’s no reason to trade Stewart for Bagley at this point. None.
This was the thrust of the James Edwards/ Jason Jones Athletic piece, too. Basically, the earliest they could do trades is December and I imagine if that they trade Bagley before then it’s because it’s a major player worth acquiring (Pascal Siakam, Ben Simmons, John Collins once Atlanta can trade him starting Jan 15th).
He’s just worth more as an expiring contract whether his camp likes it or not.
ATL is a team to keep an eye on. They handed out a bunch of extensions and have so far played rather poorly. Their cap jumps by aroud $25M next season. They may look to cut bait by the deadline if things don’t turn around for them. Cam Reddish and Kevin Huerter may be had for pennies on the dollar,
Their front office would be more likely to try shipping out Gallo before any of their new signings.
It does make sense to send Marvin to Motown.
He isn’t going to get any Sac-tual healing around here.
From pissed off to Piston – the Marvin Bagley story.
Marvin just didn’t fit.
All this time the Kings have been trying to fit a square pizza into a round pizza hole.
Marvin is an NBA player…
Flagged for possible badmouthing pizza of any shape,
I like square-shaped pizza!
Heck, I’d eat tesseract-shaped pizza if I could see it.
More like “From pissed on to Piston”
I assume they are keeping Marvin around to use as salary filler in bigger deal.
Then again, there are no big deals when it comes to the Kings.
You never know, teams may look to cut bait by the deadline on some expensive players. Kings may have have the contracts to make something happen. That is exactly how the Kings landed Barnes for expiring deals.
Another pregame show where they go from talking about mental health to talking about Fox? I’ve never disliked this organization more. It’s garbage from top to bottom.
Agree, the team is disappointing but broadcast team far worse ! Mute 100% !