What is a Luguentz Dort you may ask? A two-way rookie for Oklahoma City, Dort is shooting 24% from three this season. If you never watched an OKC game prior to this, you would think he’s an All-Star. Seriously, Dort balled out and deserves all the props. Dort scored 23 points and shot 5-6 from three. That’s all you need to know for this one.
Injury notes: Marvin Bagley III (foot) is OUT. Richaun Holmes (shoulder) is OUT. Terrance Ferguson (personal) is OUT. Abdel Nader (ankle) is OUT. Andre Roberson (knee) is OUT.
Both teams missed three pointers to open the game, but the Thunder got the first points from a Shai Gilgeous-Alexander open triple. Bogdan Bogdanovic missed his first attempt, but came right back and made a nice jumper to get the Kings on the board. The Kings started 1-7 from the floor and just had two points on the scoreboard until Bogi hit a long two that forced an OKC timeout. Nemanja Bjelica drew two fouls early which forced Anthony Tolliver to play early minutes. Tolliver drilled a three and tied the game at 12. Buddy Hield missed his first two three point attempts and the offense sputtered as OKC kept scoring. The quarter would end 23-16, OKC. Neither team shot well, but it was the Thunder who made more of their chances. Harrison Barnes and Bogi were tied with four points each for the Kings. The Thunder had three players tied with four points to lead them.
Harry Giles found a cutting Kent Bazemore and fed him perfectly for a dunk. The offense wasn’t working well with Cory Joseph and Hield, so Bogi came back out but missed a sitter. Giles eventually grabbed a high rebound and put it back in. On back-to-back possessions, Bogi and Joseph got to the rim and finished layups. Bogi drilled a three to take his point total to nine points. The Kings were still in it but De’Aaron Fox only scored one point as they trailed 32-29. Fox then made a layup right after this. Luguentz Dort, a two-way player who is shooting 24% from three, made three in the first half, but Bogi answered with his own. Danilo Gallinari made two threes in a short amount of time and OKC led 44-36. A bounce went Hield’s way as he made his first three. OKC dropped in some threes and the half ended 59-47. Bogi led the Kings with 14 points on 7-12 shooting, but no one else stepped up.
Fox missed a three to start, but off a turnover he ran with momentum and made a driving layup. Bogi then hit a three after a defensive stop and the Kings were on a 9-0 run. As I typed that, Dort made a tough layup and Gallinari made a deep three to push the lead back to 10. Bogi had an and-1 opportunity but airballed the free throw. Fox then got in his daily one-handed dunk. OKC quickly responded and led 73-60, but Fox made two baskets in a row. Dort continued to make threes for OKC and the lead went back up to 14 at 78-64. Dort looked like an All-Star out there and the lead grew over 20 and stayed that way despite some threes from Hield. OKC led 96-76. Dort and Bogi scored 21 each for their respective teams.
Some boo birds came out. The Kings were down 109-80, yet Luke Walton still had the starters out there with half the quarter gone. The backups were finally put in and that was that as the Kings fall.
Bogdan Bogdanovic was the only player who really did anything for the Kings in the first half, similar to how Buddy Hield impacted the Minnesota first half. However, OKC is not Minnesota. Bogi would finish with 23 points on 10-19 shooting including 3-10 from three. He added five rebounds, two assists and a steal.
De’Aaron Fox was quiet for the first half, but was the main driving force in the third when he became more aggressive. Fox ended the game with 19 points on 9-15 shooting, five assists and two steals. Fox did go 0-3 from three and his shooting has been a big concern this season.
Buddy Hield didn’t have a spectacular bench impact like the last two games, but OKC possesses a better defense than the previous two teams, too. Buddy finished with 13 points and shot 3-10 from three along with two rebounds and two assists.
Nemanja Bjelica was held scoreless in 24 minutes on 0-5 shooting, but did have five assists.
OKC shot 15-34 from three (44.1%) compared to Sacramento’s 9-39 (23.1%) mark.
OKC went 17-20 from the free throw line (85%) compared to Sacramento’s 7-11 (63.6%) mark.
OKC won the rebound battle 45-39 and the assist battle 32-22.
OKC also scored 22 points off 14 Sacramento turnovers. Sacramento, on the other hand, scored 10 points off 13 Thunder mistakes.
Sacramento scored 22 fast break points.
The Kings head to Los Angeles to take on the Clippers tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. PST. This shall be interesting.