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Kings vs. Thunder Preview: Can Sacramento take advantage of Durant-less team?

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Hey all I'm back!  Seems like I missed a pretty typical week of Kings basketball.  Well now it's time for the team to get back on track, and they got off to a good start on Saturday with a big win over a struggling Phoenix Suns team.  They'll face a tougher test today in the Oklahoma City Thunder, especially since they have yet to win in Oklahoma City... ever.  The good news is that OKC will be without superstar Kevin Durant.  The bad news is that this is the Kings and taking advantage of other team's misfortunes is not what we do best.  Today's action tips off at 5:00 pm on CSN California and on KHTK 1140.

3 Questions

1. Can the Kings keep having fun?  One of the topics that came out of Saturday's big win was just how much fun the team was having.  DeMarcus Cousins was high-fiving George Karl, everybody was scoring, and best of all the team won.  It was a good moment for a team that had a dark cloud hovering over them this past week.  The thing is, that cloud is never far away from the Sacramento Kings.  Can they keep the darkness at bay for a little while longer and string another impressive win together?

2. Will Willie Cauley-Stein be slowly integrated back into the rotation or is he now on the end of the bench?  Rookie Willie Cauley-Stein made his debut from four weeks of injury on Saturday, but only after the game had basically been decided.  Given this team's defensive woes, I'd like to see Willie slowly work his way back into being a 20 minutes a night rotation guy, although I doubt we'll see him ever return to the starting lineup this season given how well Omri Casspi has been playing.

3. Can the Kings defense get any stops?  The Thunder have the 2nd highest offensive rating in the league and the Kings have one of the worst defenses in the league.  Even in Saturday's blowout win, they allowed the Suns to put up 119 points.  Sacramento isn't going to beat the Thunder by simply trying to drop a ton of points on them because OKC will find a way to get stops.  The Kings need to do the same.


Rajon Rondo vs. Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook is one of the most terrifying basketball players to watch in the world, whether you're playing against him or if he's on your team.  He's a once-in-a-lifetime athlete and a highly skilled player which makes for a deadly combination.  Westbrook was kept mostly in check the last time these two teams met, but with Durant out, he's going to take it upon himself to carry this Oklahoma City team.  I don't particularly look forward to seeing how the Kings propose to stop him especially since Rondo isn't nearly the defender he once was.


Thunder 123, Kings 109.  I just don't trust this team to get stops, especially on the road.