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Kings vs. Thunder Preview: Someone has to win

Scraping the bottom of the Western Conference for a victory is the name of the game.

Oklahoma City Thunder v Sacramento Kings Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

The Sacramento Kings continue their road trip Monday night as they are hosted by the Oklahoma City Thunder. Sacramento faced OKC less than one month ago, serving as the finale for Tyrese Haliburton and Buddy Hield as the Kings claimed their final win before their blockbuster trade to acquire Domantas Sabonis.

Now with a new cast on one side, the Thunder could pose less of the threat to the Kings who boast All-Star talent in their new-look roster that haven’t quite performed up to snuff since the return to action.

It hasn’t been pretty, but two contests vs. the Denver Nuggets that were split between brutal beating and close-until-the-end make this Kings team a puzzling size to sample. Playing with concerted effort hasn’t been an issue with the addition of Sabonis and a newly-spry Fox, but the tenacity can only go so far when facing the league’s reigning MVP playing at the same level of eliteness.

With a team in the Thunder who are much closer to Sacramento’s talent level, or at least, success level, it will be a fairer assessment of what kind of noise this team can make when the opposition is even. Nearly all of OKC’s starters are side-lined for the contest, so Sacramento’s must win mentality should be at an all time high to take care of buisness.

Richaun Holmes will not play for the third consecutive game, sighting back injury from Sacramento personnel. His role since the trade deadline has dwindled, and bringing him back with an established role in these final few weeks is yet to be decided. The win/loss ratio of the next few games might lean toward players beginning to wind down their season as the play-in falls out of the sight. In the same vein, keeping the team ready for this final push should be the goal.

How to Watch/Listen: NBC Sports California, Sports 1140 KHTK

Opposing Perspective: Welcome to Loud City

SAC injuries/absences: Terence Davis - Out (Wrist), Richaun Holmes - Out (Back)

OKC injuries/absences: Josh Giddey - Out (Hip), Jeremiah Robinson-Earl - Out (Foot), Kenrich Williams - Out (Knee), Lu Dort - Out (Shoulder), Mike Muscala - Out (Ankle), Ty Jerome - Out (Hip)