Yes, kids, it’s the Sacramento Kings again, and this is definitely the last time we’ll have to see them this season. Promise. And if we thought we would be spared the presence of DeMarcus Cousins, who rolled up his thirteenth technical Sunday — well, that tech was rescinded, and DeMarcus did his darnedest to make DeDifference tonight, rolling up a team-high 32 points. Scott Brooks, evidently not impressed, brought out none of the Thunder starters for the fourth quarter, and the James Harden-less bench came up big, putting together a 36-24 final frame to get the better of the Kings, 118-110.
Sacramento came out shooting hot, running up 40 points in the first quarter; they cooled a bit once the Thunder defense started to gel, but still finished with a creditable 52 percent from the floor. All five starters made double figures, though the five reserves, putting in limited time (Tyler Honeycutt, says the box score, played two seconds, and you can’t get much more limited than that), contributed only seven points among them.
Meanwhile, Derek Fisher and Daequan Cook took command of the OKC bench; DC-14 got a season-high 19 points, and Fish dropped in 11, including three consecutive free throws late after being fouled on a long ball. Kevin Durant, who vanished after the third quarter, left with 32 points, enough to pad his tiny lead over Kobe Bryant for scoring champion by some infinitesimal decimal. With Russell Westbrook in something of a slump (4-13, 13 points), Thabo Sefolosha stepped up his offensive game, hitting four of six, including two treys, for 11 points. The Thunder shot 46 percent, and outrebounded Sacramento, 43-34.
Which leaves Game 66, tomorrow against the sixth-place (for the moment) Nuggets. Denver hasn’t beaten OKC all year, and there’s no good reason they should start now.