Well that was a reality check.
After two wins in a row, the Kings faced a team that wasn’t trying to lose as many games as possible and it showed. The Thunder played like a fine-tuned machine, utilizing their length and athleticism to stymie the Kings again and again. The Kings shot just 41.2% on the night, and even that doesn’t really factor in just how much the Thunder were stopping the Kings.
Russell Westbrook didn’t get his 5th straight triple-double but he might as well have with 28 points, 10 assists, and 8 rebounds for another well-rounded game. The Kings didn’t have anyone who could really guard Westbrook, although Westbrook tried to help the Kings out with a game-high 7 turnovers.
The Thunder broke out early thanks to their defense and hot shooting. New acquisition Doug McDermott was particularly effective, as he torched the Kings for 21 points on 8-9 shooting from the field (including 4-5 from downtown). Enes Kanter and Steven Adams took advantage of the Kings youth and inexperience down low and chipped in 14 and 16 points respectively.
For the Kings, there weren’t too many bright spots. Buddy Hield had a very rough game, shooting just 4-12 from the field and 2-8 from downtown. The length of both Victor Oladipo and Andre Roberson definitely bothered him and it’s something he’ll need to learn how to deal with. Skal Labissiere scored 13 points, but he also picked up three quick fouls that limited his first half action.
The lone bright spot for the Kings was really the play of rookie Georgios Papagiannis, who scored 14 points to go with 11 rebounds in just 21 minutes. Big Papa looked more comfortable than he has all year and scored on a variety of post moves as well as showcasing a nice touch from outside.
The Kings now head to San Antonio to face the Spurs tomorrow.