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Kings vs. Thunder Preview: Time for the defense to make a return appearance

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Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The Kings are back in action today for the first time since Sunday.  It also marks the beginning of a season-long six game home stand.  Sacramento has yet to find a groove since Michael Malone's firing and they'll face a tough test against the resurgent Thunder team tonight.  Today's action tips off at 7:00 pm on Comcast SportsNet California and on KHTK 1140.

3 THINGS TO LOOK FOR

1.  The Thunder have consistently had Sacramento's number over the years to the point that Sacramento has beaten Oklahoma City just three times in 24 attempts since the team formerly known as the Supersonics first moved to Oklahoma City in 2008.  Ten of those losses have been by double digits and Sacramento has never won by more than five in the few wins that they have had.  This is just a tough, tough team that matches up very well with Sacramento.

2. Oklahoma City recently made a big trade, acquiring Dion Waiters from the Cleveland Cavaliers.  Tonight will be Waiters first game with Oklahoma City, and he's expected to try to become a scoring punch off the bench.  It will be interesting to see how he adapts to the role in Oklahoma City.

3. Sacramento has had plenty of time to prepare for this game and hopefully regain some mojo since coming back from a poor road trip that ended with an embarrassing loss to the Pistons on Sunday.  I'm not expecting Sacramento to win this game, but I would like to see an increase in effort, particularly on the defensive end.

MATCHUP OF THE GAME

Russell Westbrook vs. the world

Kevin Durant is Oklahoma City's best player, but Westbrook might just be their most dangerous.  He's a frenetic ball of energy that can take over a game at a moment's notice.  In the last matchup between these two teams, Oklahoma City withstood several Kings runs solely because of Westbrook.  He's too big, too strong and too quick for most of the Kings to guard.  The best Sacramento can hope for is to contain the paint and force him to settle for long jumpers;  He can hit them but it's far from his most efficient shot.

PREGAME LIMERICK

It's time to get back into a groove,
and our defense needs to improve.
The Thunder are tough,
this game might be rough,
but as long as we have effort, I won't disapprove.

PREDICTION

Kings 109, Thunder 106 as Dion Waiters keeps forgetting he's on the Thunder now and continues to shoot at the wrong basket.