Thunder Looks To Stay Hot Against Kings
In a rare early afternoon game, the Thunder will be in action at 2 p.m. when it hosts the Sacramento Kings.
Here are a few things to know about the matchup:
This will be the first time the Thunder squares off with the new-look Kings following their trade with the Pelicans at the deadline. Sacramento sent Demarcus Cousins and Omri Casspi to New Orleans in exchange for a protected pick, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway and former Sooner Buddy Hield.
Kings management has reportedly liked Hield’s game for a longtime, and it appears they plan to use him as one of the building blocks for the future. Hield is averaging 13.5 points and 3.5 rebounds per game since the trade and has played at least 30 minutes in three of the last four games.
Despite dropping eight of its first nine games following the trade, Sacramento is riding a two-game winning streak following wins over the Magic and Suns this past week.
Young players such as Hield, Skal Labissiere and Willie Cauley-Stein have really shown a lot of growth under this new team identity, but the Kings need to be careful to not win too many games or their 2017 draft pick could begin to drop in value.
Thunder is playing well
Not only is the Thunder riding a four-game winning streak, but point guard Russell Westbrook also has four consecutive triple-doubles over that span. The two things appear to go hand in hand seeing OKC has a .823-win percentage when Westbrook reaches that mark and as .323 when he doesn’t.
The Thunder is beating its opponents by an average of 14.3 points over this hot-streak with three of the wins coming against teams slated to have home-court advantage if playoffs were to start today (Spurs, Jazz, Raptors).
With 34 triple-doubles already in the bag, Westbrook only needs seven more to tie Oscar Robertson’s single-season record of 41. Seeing he already has one against the Kings this season and was one assist away from tallying another, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Westbrook notch another inside The Peake on Saturday.