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Kings vs Thunder Preview: Th-underdogs

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Go Kings!

NBA: Oklahoma City Thunder at Sacramento Kings Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Did you forget there was a Kings game today? Did your brain subconsciously (or consciously) block out the fact that you have to drag yourself in front of a television for two-and-a-half hours this evening to almost certainly see your hometown team lose? If so, shame on you! This definitely didn’t happen to Will, and forgetting about the game is definitely not the reason I’m stepping in and writing a game preview just a few hours before tipoff. Let’s talk Kings basketball!

When: Wednesday, January 29th, 7:00 PST

Where: Golden 1 Center

TV: NBCSCA

Radio: KHTK Sports 1140 AM

For Your Consideration

These two squads last faced off about six weeks ago when both teams were tied for the 7th seed in the West, and boy have things taken a dichotomous route for the pair of franchises. Since the Kings beat the Thunder on December 11th, Oklahoma City has posted the seventh-best record in the NBA at 17-8, having secured 7th place in the Western Conference, while Sacramento has managed to post their best impression of the 2008 financial collapse, winning just 7 of their last 23 games, currently sitting in 13th place in the West, 10 games behind tonight’s opponent.

The Thunder are led by the three-headed point guard monster of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Chris Paul, and Dennis Schroder, and Sacramento’s perimeter defense will need to hold firm if they have any hope of an upset victory tonight. If the Kings are able to slow down Oklahoma City’s dribble penetration, they’ll be hoping that Nemanja Bjelica can somehow stick with Danilo Gallinari, a massive forward who’s putting up 19 points and 6 boards, along with knocking down 41% of his three-point field goals every night. The Thunder are also dominant on the defensive end of the floor, holding opponents to the fourth-fewest points at 108.1 per game, as well as the eighth-worst three-point percentage at 34.5. Luke Walton’s primary game plan of hucking up whatever open three-pointer that comes along probably isn’t going to work against the Thunder defense this evening.

A victory tonight would give the Kings their second three-game winning streak of the season and would certainly go a long way toward boosting some optimism among the fan base. The starters cannot afford to go down early like they did against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday evening, as the Thunder are a much more disciplined squad that isn’t going to let off the gas with a big lead. With Marvin Bagley and Richaun Holmes still out, De’Aaron Fox, Bogdan Bogdanovic, and Buddy Hield will need to put up some massive scoring efforts, as well as actually play defense for 48 minutes, if the Kings have any hope of a win tonight.

Prediction

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s name is too long to put on the back of a jersey and he’s disqualified from the game, Buddy Hield scores 43 points off of the bench, and Harry Giles outplays Steven Adams on the way to a Kings blowout.

Kings 119 – Thunder 88