Return of (some) Kings

Today’s version of the Sacramento Kings could fairly be described as “depleted”; Tyreke Evans, Rudy Gay and Ben McLemore were not available, and Arron Afflalo did not travel with the team for personal reasons. The 63-41 halftime score reflects this situation to a certain extent; however, the Kings who remained put up a decent fight in the second half, outscoring the Thunder 53-47. It wasn’t enough to give Sacramento the win — OKC tucked the W away, 110-94 — but it did make for a more entertaining spectacle than one might have expected.

The Sacramento reserves, in fact, collected bigger numbers than did the starters. Big man Georgios Papagiannis put together a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds; Skal Labissiere followed with 13. (The top scorer among the King starters was Buddy Hield, who pocketed 11.) Still, everyone in purple was on the minus side, and all the Thundermen were plus except Jerami Grant, who played one minute of garbage time.

Once again, OKC shot 50 percent, and two double-doubles were recorded, by Russell Westbrook (28 points, 10 assists) and Steven Adams (16 points, 13 boards). And the rise of Doug McDermott, who shot 8 of 9 for 21 points (4-5 from the three-point line), elicited several delighted eruptions from Loud City. Still, the Thunder were not all that wonderful in the second half, and Billy Donovan will give them a tongue-lashing or two before Monday night, when the dreaded Golden State Warriors arrive. There’s slightly less dread than usual — Kevin Iscariot is not going to suit up — but GS is still the top team in the West, if by less of a margin than they were early in the season. And the Thunder have lost three in a row to the Warriors; it would be nice to trounce them in front of the home crowd.

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