After going 1-1 on the Left Coast over the weekend, the Thunder were anxious to go into the All-Star break with a win, and they got their first break well before tipoff: Sacramento überguard Tyreke Evans turned up with plantar fasciitis, poor fellow, and the Kings, who didn’t play that badly otherwise, were blown out of Oklahoma City’s Large Indoor Downtown Roundabout to the tune of 126-96.
Your Telltale Statistics: DeMarcus Cousins, fined by the Kings yesterday for an altercation after Saturday night’s game with the Thunder, was the leading scorer for Sacramento with 21; Daequan Cook, epoxied to the OKC bench for much of the season, came up with 20 points to lead the Thunder.
Oh, and this: it was OKC 100, Sacramento 75, after the third quarter. With an abundance of garbage time, Serge Ibaka actually got more minutes than anyone else in home whites, playing 28:12, and all twelve active players put in at least some time. This won’t help Kevin Durant’s average — he finished with 17 — but I suspect he’s happier with the win. And in a mere 25 minutes, Russell Westbrook came up with a skimpy but legitimate double-double: 10 points, 11 assists. The on-again off-again Jeff Green was on again, with 16 points on 7-9 shooting. OKC shot an even 50 percent, and were 3-17 from beyond the arc, except for Cook, who hit five of seven.
The Kings, to their credit, never acted like it was over until the fourth quarter, when the benches were emptied. Cousins reeled in 13 boards to lead everyone. Beno Udrih and Pooh Jeter, splitting duty at the point, each scored in double figures. Apart from a flurry of missed treys — they hit only two of 11 — there really wasn’t much they did wrong; they just weren’t able to do enough against a Thunder defense which actually showed up in the first quarter for once.
And so OKC goes into the break at 35-19. The schedule gets hairy rather quickly afterwards: next Tuesday at home against the Clippers, Wednesday at San Antonio, Friday at Orlando, then back home Sunday against the other L.A. team.