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Thunder’s Dynamic Duo Powers 127-113 Victory Over Kings

Turnovers Take Toll on Kings: A Game of Missed Opportunities
By | 38 Comments | Feb 11, 2024

Feb 11, 2024; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) drives to the basket beside Sacramento Kings guard Davion Mitchell (15) during the second half at Paycom Center. Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

The formidable partnership of J-Dub, Jalan Williams, and SGA, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, overwhelmed the Kings, combining for a staggering 70 points on over 60% shooting. This led the Thunder to secure a 127-113 victory. The game commenced as a closely contested affair in the first quarter, but the Thunder asserted their dominance in the second period, establishing a double-digit lead. Despite the Kings’ efforts, they always fell short of closing the gap. Supporting players from the Thunder, such as Lu Dort and Kenrich Williams, delivered crucial three-pointers, thwarting any comeback attempts from the Kings.

In their previous matchup, the Kings managed to counteract an impressive performance from SGA with Fox’s own standout play. On December 14th, Fox contributed 41 points and 7 assists, while SGA scored 43 points and made 9 assists, effectively neutralizing each other’s impact. Sabonis continued his impressive streak against fellow Gonzaga alumnus Chet Holmgren, averaging 18.7 points, 13 rebounds, and 11.3 assists across the three games against the Thunder.

Two key themes stood in this game, the play of the top two stars for each team and points off turnovers, more on that one later. Fox wasn’t entirely absent from this game, contributing 15 points and assists on 6-17 shooting, although most of his production came late in the 4th quarter. Despite being at a disadvantage, the Kings didn’t back down, starting the fourth quarter with a 14-5 run and reducing the deficit to single digits. A significant contribution came from the perimeter bench trio of Davion Mitchell, Malik Monk, and Keon Ellis. Mitchell, in particular, was on fire, scoring 14 points on 5-6 shooting, including 4-4 from beyond the arc. Keon Ellis played 17 minutes, scoring 5 points and showing hustle on defense, ending the night with a neutral plus-minus rating. Malik continued to be money with 18 points and 9 dimes.

Turnovers were a critical factor in this game, with the Kings giving up 18, leading to 30 points for the Thunder. In contrast, the Thunder only turned over 11 times, resulting in 14 points for the Kings. Seemingly every time the Kings gave it up it led to an effortless layup or dunk on the other end of the court.

Also on the downside, Kevin Huerter managed only 2-7 from the field in 20 minutes, and Trey Lyles, who had been on a hot streak, ended with just 1 point and 5 rebounds in 24 minutes of play.

Looking ahead, the Kings face a crucial game against the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday, February 13th. This match is significant for their bid for the 5th seed in the standings and could influence the playoff and play-in seedings come April.

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UpgradedToQuestionable
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February 11, 2024 4:49 pm

The Kings D looked pretty together – but then OKC, to their credit, would come through with 1,2 or 3 seconds on the 24 second clock.

Jalen Williams had a hot game. Respect to the Santa Clara soph. I also thought Sac’s Soph – Keegan – had a nice game. It’s a delight to see him expand his repertoire on offense, and he did so this game. Defensively, again, he’s does tough cover well.

Malik Monk had a great shooting game- but man, his turnovers are frustrating to watch.

And that, to me, was, as mentioned, the crux of the loss. Unforced errors at all the wrong moments. Instead of taking advantage of their hard wrought momentum, the turned the ball over or failed to score.

Lastly, I am still not used to seeing “settle for a three” Fox. I am not sold on it when we’ve seen his ease of score in the paint. Fourth quarter Fox has turned into 3 point Threat Fox. But this is a streaky Fox, and it’s caused me to hold my breath more than I like. It seems to have made his 2 point game streaky as well.

Tough loss, but it was not a rout, they fought all game.

And delighted to see scoring Davion and Keon back in the line up. And Domas… man, Ox was his usual iron self.

Next.

Last edited 15 days ago by UpgradedToQuestionable
RPO
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RPO
February 11, 2024 6:39 pm

Was gonna be tough to get this win. The next one’s more important, from a standings perspective.

kgdobter
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February 11, 2024 8:17 pm

If Fox plays this way after the Allstar break, I’m going to be very concerned. I’m going to cut him some slack until then.

Ellis5
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February 11, 2024 8:46 pm

The Kings are smart to bag games like this. A noon start going over the Rockies is a scheduled loss. No need for Fox to kill himself and get injured attacking the basket when the refs won’t give him the call because he isn’t a head flopper. Is Shai a “head flopper”?

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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February 11, 2024 9:20 pm
Reply to  Ellis5

Huh? Bag games? They played a team at noon who played last night. OKC came out an balled on a very short SEGABABA. The Kings are the ones who came out flat.

Jman1949
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February 11, 2024 9:45 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Their game in Dallas was also a noon start—still SEGABABA, but no shorter than usual.

Ellis5
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February 11, 2024 10:16 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Yeah I fully watched that game… OKC bagged the Mavericks game. Kings always lose early games… even when they aren’t losing time.

Last edited 15 days ago by Ellis5
eddie41
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February 11, 2024 8:56 pm

where is the Fox who told the coach “I can get any shot I want out there?” That’s the Fox this team needs back on the court.

HongKongKingsFan
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February 11, 2024 9:09 pm

I think it’s Lu Dort killed us.

He hit some big 3.

Fox just settling for too much 3 is a real concern.

also, I would rather play Barnes, than the 3 guards lineup, at least Barnes can draw fouls.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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Nostradumbass 14
February 11, 2024 9:21 pm

Lu Dort is exactly the kind of player this Kings squad needs.

Raiderfusion
February 11, 2024 10:29 pm

We had 13 more turnovers than they di, we deserved to lose!

RikSmits
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February 11, 2024 10:50 pm

For those who don’t see any issues because we have roughly the same record as last year; you can see something is not right by the way Brown is constantly shuffling with the rotations, searching for something IMO.

And I am not happy with some of his decisions. This game was a prime example. He took out hot players or players who were effective defensively or in a flow and just seemed to be throwing shit at the wall.

I saw some good defensive possessions where we got (multiple) stops and/or deflections and almost every time OKC ended up with the ball and points. You got to get the ball. Very frustrating.

After a good start to the third quarter, I never had the feeling that we were in the game, just trying frantically to catch up, hoping to get hot. Nothing poised or deliberate.

Also saw some chippiness between Domas and Lyles. I don’t mind that a lot, but not something you see a lot with this team. Not sure if that’s good or bad.

9sac8
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February 12, 2024 5:45 am
Reply to  RikSmits

Multiple players were at each other after an unforced turnover or anything that deviated from running our offense. A lot of eye rolling at teammates.

Either they know they are underachieving or this is the point where everyone is held accountable, but hold your teammate accountable in a respectful manner. Fight together, not against each other. It seems like we’re fighting with the referees more too. Understandable though. We got thrown on the floor…play on. If we so much walk past the opponent and sneeze, we get a review for a flagrant.

To some it up, something is off…period.

Jack
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February 12, 2024 6:43 am
Reply to  RikSmits

I’m worried. Turnovers, lack of 3 point defense(OKC shot 48%), and starters like Huerter and Fox. He is playing OK but doesn’t shoot or drive to score around 15 or 16 points a game,
. OKC last year looked OK but this year has shown they are better than the Kings. Suns, Pelicans Mavericks and now even the Lakers are moving up the ladder right behind us. We stood pat. Live by it, die by it. Maybe this summer things will change. Hope so.

RikSmits
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February 12, 2024 7:38 am
Reply to  Jack

The issue is, as others have pointed out in the past, that the Kings’ asset cupboard is pretty bare and cap situation isn’t fantastic. Especially when compared to teams like the Thunder.

Monte didn’t sign Monk to a long enough deal to secure his birth rights, Davion and our second rounders haven’t panned out (with the exception of Cash Considerations) and those who are assets enough to be used in a trade will leave holes that need to be filled.

And with only one relative young player (Keegan) the path to internal improvement also looks pretty narrow.

Jack
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February 12, 2024 9:49 am
Reply to  RikSmits

So what you’re saying is we don’t have much to work with. Not even this summer. Doesn’t sound good. If we are stagnant then we are in trouble.

UpgradedToQuestionable
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February 12, 2024 12:17 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

The issue is, as others have pointed out in the past, that the Kings’ asset cupboard is pretty bare and cap situation isn’t fantastic. Especially when compared to teams like the Thunder.

There aren’t any teams with assets close to the Thunder – other than perhaps, Utah.

Of the Top 6 teams in the Western Conf- Minnesota, LA Clippers, Phoenix all have negative tradeable assets. No draft picks and other than their top talent, little in the way of depth. Somehow, these teams, and the LA Lakers, seem to be able to find tweaks and fidgets around trade deadline and Free Agency/Summer.

Part of that (sans Minnesota who is winning the gamble this season after looking to have lost that risk last season) is the burden of small market franchising. Phoenix and LA (and New York and Golden State) are always going to hold an edge to attract talent, all things equal.

It’s why getting Malik Monk (for all of his charms and faults) was an unusual coup for GM McNair and may just as soon see him leave, despite having his birth rights.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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February 12, 2024 1:14 pm

I truly believe that some markets now feel they don’t even need draft picks anymore, Lakers especially. They now mainly rely on free agency and trades to build their teams. Draft picks are just tradable assets to acquire talent, not to actually draft talent. It definitely gives them an advantage over markets where the draft is really the primary way to improve your team.

The Lakers have drafted in the lottery just 6 times in the last 30 years, and the last 3 lottery picks (Russell, Ingram, and Ball) were all traded away to land bigger talent. They just need don’t even bother developing their own talent anymore.

UpgradedToQuestionable
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February 12, 2024 5:57 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Ok – conjecture for the sake of it:

Let’s say it’s, I dunno, 2026 (after 2024-2025, 2025-2026): who do you see replacing Lebron as the Star of the Lakers given what you know of today’s talent?

A) Anthony Edwards?
B) Wemby?
C) Giannis and maybe that includes the year previous with Lebron?
D) De’Aaron? or Hali?
E) He ain’t retiring by then

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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February 13, 2024 8:25 am

Donovan Mitchell has a player option for 2025-26, Embiid and Luka have player options the season after. I’d think it is some star coming off a max deal that hasn’t won anything yet and the draw of LA will be too much to pass up.

Kfan
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February 12, 2024 8:14 am

I’d like to see Keegan develop Jalan Williams’ aggressiveness on offense.

RikSmits
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February 12, 2024 10:53 am

How do I post and embed a twitter post from a laptop? Thanks.

RikSmits
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February 12, 2024 11:06 am

Last edited 14 days ago by RikSmits
Adamsite
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February 12, 2024 12:23 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

I think he’s just returned to Earth (averages). He’s basically back to the Fox of past seasons.

The thing I notice most, is that he just doesn’t attack the paint like he used to. The full of head of steam going down hill seems to be diminishing. I’ve said for years, if/when Fox ever looses his ability to hit the gas and out run anyone on the floor, he’s going to go from very good to very average very fast…in a John Wall/Derrick Rose kind of way.

Here’s hoping is just fatigue or a nagging injury that’s slowing him and the All-Star break does him good.

eddie41
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February 12, 2024 1:40 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

I have thought that also, but there was a game last year, on a SEGABABA after playing an intense game the day before (maybe overtime?), where Fox looked like he could only go at 60% speed, but he still balled, just slowed down his moves.

Amonk81
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February 12, 2024 7:26 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

It Has to be nagging injury, injuries. Nothing else makes sense. Because Fox is not going back to his average season , he’s not attacking the rim like you said, and there’s no clutch fourth-quarter Fox. You don’t suddenly lose that -for no reason

all of it points to foxes injuries. But I do have concerns moving forward. If he’s going to be slightly beat up, it’s gonna be hard for him to be really good.

I also believe this is why the kings are not quite what they need to be or a little off. Fox can’t win games at the end right now because of his injuries. Not explosive, Wrist, shoulder, making him shoot worse.

Amonk81
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February 12, 2024 7:28 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Meanwhile, Hali is throwing hickey assist passes to himself off the backboard.,……

Healthy Fox- I hardly miss Hali. Love that dude. So fun to watch.

Jman1949
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February 12, 2024 8:56 pm
Reply to  Amonk81

But if Fox goes 5 of 15 for a total of 13 points in 34 minutes in a loss to the Hornets, we have multiple commenters questioning his effort.

Jman1949
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February 12, 2024 1:23 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

Is it a coincidence that Fox injured his right shoulder late in game #23 against OKC and had to sit out game #24 against Utah? He’s been favoring that shoulder ever since. My speculation is that the medical staff has determined that playing presents minimal risk to injuring the shoulder further and that Fox is playing through whatever pain he’s experiencing. Hopefully resting over the AS break will help.

eddie41
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February 12, 2024 1:44 pm
Reply to  Jman1949

I think it’s more than that. He dribbled off his feet once or twice, looked lethargic. his shot selection was weird also. 4th quarter, after the team cut the lead to 6 or so, inbounds play, and he does a quick turnaround sideways jumping three. He’s kangzing.

Jman1949
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February 12, 2024 3:33 pm
Reply to  eddie41

I was addressing the difference in the first vs second halves of the season so far, but I agree that Fox was more than a step slow in yesterday’s game, particularly at the start. It seemed like Mike Brown made note of that in the first quarter. Brown pulled Fox less than five minutes into the game and did not reinsert him until there were only eleven seconds left in the quarter. Fox usually plays eight to nine minutes in the first vs the less than five he played yesterday.

Amonk81
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February 12, 2024 7:31 pm
Reply to  Jman1949

This is exactly what I’m hoping. Because earlier in the year, after Fox twisted ankle and lost his speed/explosion- that led to him developing a great game playing with much less athleticism. On the ground.

But then wrist and shoulder injuries/issues took away his shooting.

I can’t even tell if he hurt his ankle again because he always looks limpy

Hobby916
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February 12, 2024 3:39 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

Game 35 was that blowout loss against the Pelicans where he started the media boycott. I wonder what the the numbers look like since that point.

AnybodyButBagley
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February 12, 2024 8:12 pm

A team that plays with pace vs a team that plays with pace AND refuses to play defense.

Which team wins?

RikSmits
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February 13, 2024 10:08 am

Last edited 13 days ago by RikSmits
RikSmits
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February 13, 2024 10:21 am

Adamsite
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February 13, 2024 11:17 am
Reply to  RikSmits

It is shocking how many turnovers the Kings have committed this season coming out of a timeout. It’s almost like they are forcing and telegraphing everything.

Sacto_J
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February 13, 2024 1:26 pm

No longer undefeated in the Robin Lopez era. That didn’t last long…lol

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