Kings vs. Thunder preview: Just another easy home game!

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Sacramento is home again. Unfortunately, the opponent is Oklahoma City. Gads.

Akis has written about this a few times, but it bears repeating: while the Kings have had an extremely home-heavy schedule (10 at home, five on the road) it has been really, really tough. In fact, tied for the toughest in the league. Of the Kings' 15 games, only three have featured teams currently below .500. Those happen to be the three East team that visited Sleep Train.

Another home game on Tuesday, and another tough foe: the 12-3 Thunder.

MATCHUP OF THE GAME

Kevin Durant vs. Derrick Williams.

Yeah.

Durant actually hasn't shot as well as usual early this season. His numbers would be godlike for most other players, but for him, these (26 points per 36 minutes, .608 True Shooting) are ordinary. So perhaps there's an opportunity to take advantage of a slow start (as ridiculous as that sounds given the above numbers) and limit him somewhat. Meanwhile, Williams can pound it in transition and get the Thunder off-balance, in theory.

Yeah.

3 THINGS TO WATCH SPECIFICALLY SPEAKING

1. Is Isaiah Thomas in control? He's had a few horrible turnover nights this season, including in Sunday's loss. A low turnover rate has been one of the Kings' offensive strengths this season. When Isaiah gets that loose with the ball, it's negated. It's how the Kings lose a game in which they shot 53 percent.

2. Can the defense discourage penetration and challenge shots? Without a shotblocker, letting Russell Westbrook and KD drive the lane is especially perilous. But if you try to keep them out on the perimeter, you have to close out and challenge shots. It's a tricky balance, but that's defense in the NBA.

3. Can DeMarcus Cousins abuse the smaller, slower, less athletic Kendrick Perkins? The answer is yes. So I suppose the question should be "will he?"

START FOUR

In case you missed it Sunday, we have an StR group at Start Four. At the end of December, everyone above me (TeamZiller) in the standings will be entered into a drawing for a prize. Choosing Jason Thompson over Patrick Patterson on Sunday really did a number on me, but I'm still in 11th place out of 60.

Make sure you pick your players for today. And you still have time to join if you missed Sunday -- I'm really not very good at these games, so you'll have ample opportunity to catch me if you join soon.

PREGAME HAIKU

The Thunder? Oh no!
Thabo, Perkins and Serge:
how will the Kings cope?

PREDICTION

Thunder 108, Kings 100.

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