The Sacramento Kings claimed an emphatic victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder 131-110 on Monday night. Despite this being the low hanging fruit of the Western Conference, this felt like a “survive and advance” formatted game for the Kings as they are in what is now a three-team race to the Western Conference play-in tournament for the playoffs. Oklahoma City has remained competitive despite their reputation for being an easy win - splitting the season series thus far with Sacramento.
Tonight, the Thunder were without most of their heavy hitters, sans Shai Gilegous-Alexander, who was great for them yet again.
Interim head coach Alvin Gentry tested a new rotation tonight, adding Trey Lyles in the absence of Richaun Holmes, who did not play again due to a back injury. Lyles had 7 points in his starting stint, propelling the Kings do a generous lead over the Thunder before SGA’s heroics gave this contest an even match.
De’Aaron Fox remained aggressive from the jump - logging 11 assists and passing Reggie Theus for the fourth in leading the category for the franchise.
Sacramento saw key contributions from Harrison Barnes and Davion Mitchell, who kept them in the game before Fox exploded in the third quarter. It’s become evident that when Barnes plays well, the team plays well. He has been such an underrated asset to this squad in their tenure this season as his seasoned style of play benefits the masses time and time again.
Meanwhile, Gilgeous-Alexander logged 36 points for the Thunder, posing an offensive threat all four quarters until the Kings garnered a double-digit separation, allowing for an ease in victory for the first time since before the All-Star break.
In all, this was a must-win for Sacramento. Continuing to keep their sight set on the play-in can only come in victories over opponents they should be. They did what they needed to do tonight in Oklahoma City behind Fox, Barnes, Mitchell and their supporting cast.