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Kings vs. Thunder Preview: We need a win

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The locker room could use a boost after Friday’s nonsense.

NBA: Sacramento Kings at Oklahoma City Thunder Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

Amidst all the turmoil surrounding the Sacramento Kings, some may have forgotten that there’s actually a game to be played tonight. In a bit of an ironic twist, the Kings need to score a victory against the team that sparked their surprising start to the season, no easy task with the way the Oklahoma City have been playing recently. Billy Donovan’s squad dropped their first four games of the season, but have won 10 of their last 11 games, including wins over the Clippers, Pelicans, and Rockets. During that stretch, they’re averaging the 7th most points per game, 114.3, and they are also holding opponents to the 5th fewest, 103.2 per contest. Their defense is especially effective on the perimeter, limiting teams to just 31.5% from three-point range.

Meanwhile, the Kings have lost 5 of their last 7 games and have dropped to 11th place in the Western Conference playoff standings. The young core needs to find their way back to a fast, transition-heavy offense rather than trying to beat teams in the half-court, an arduous feat against a long, athletic Oklahoma City squad . A victory over the surging Thunder would provide a significant boost to a locker room dealing with external unrest.

When: Monday, November 19, 2018: 7:00 pm PST

Where: Golden 1 Center, Sacramento

TV: NBCSCA

Radio: KHTK Sports 1140 AM

Twinning

Russell Westbrook will miss tonight’s game due to the birth of his twins. For a team that hasn’t caught much of a break in their scheduling, the Kings must take advantage of Westbrook’s absence. Dennis Schroeder will likely take over at point gaurd, and while the former Hawk could start on multiple teams at the moment, he doesn’t present nearly the same threat in transition. De’Aaron Fox will be the best lead guard on the floor at any given time, a rare edge for any team facing the Thunder.

Bogdamn Bogdamnovic

After a bit of a rough start in his return from offseason knee surgery, Bogdan Bogdanovic has begun to return to form – an important development for a team bereft of consistent wing production. Bogi scored just seven points in his first game back, followed by a six point performance, but has averaged 16 points and 3 assists per game, while shooting 53% from the field and 44% from three-point range over his last the last three contests. He may continue to come off of the bench while he works himself back into game shape, but the Kings will need another big game out of the true Prince Who Was Promised if they hope to match the production of Oklahoma’s All-Star Paul George.

Prediction

De’Aaron Fox smokes Dennis Schroeder. Buddy Hield goes off for 25 points. At halftime, a certain Kings Assistant General Manager is traded to the Phoenix Suns for a trade exception and the rights to Alex Oriakhi.

Kings 116, Thunder 111