In the first half, the question was “Gawd, what are we going to do about Tyreke Evans?” He’d rolled up 16 points already, and the Thunder was a long way from putting away the Kings. Twenty-four minutes later, no one was asking: Evans had been effectively bottled up in the second half, finishing with 22, and Oklahoma City recorded its fifth consecutive victory, thrashing Sacramento 102-87.
The Kings showed strength on the glass, grabbing 40 rebounds — DeMarcus Cousins got 15 of them before fouling out late — but they had little success forcing turnovers, shooting treys (two of 11), or collecting freebies (15-23 from the stripe). Beno Udrih was their marksman, scoring 19 on 9-12 shooting; factor Udrih out, though, and you’re looking at 26-70, which is barely 37 percent.
The Thunder shot a little better — 48.1 percent — but they had little success shooting treys (three of 15) or collecting freebies (21 of 32 from the stripe). The usual go-to guys were gone to, with Kevin Durant rattling down 24 despite missing four free throws, Russell Westbrook doing his thing to the tune of 21, and Serge Ibaka collecting another double-double. Nick Collison was his usual fearsome self. But attention must be paid to the Quiet Man: Jeff Green’s line shows only 11 points, but it also shows +21, by far the best of anyone on the court.
Mullens Report: Byron put up one shot, which he missed, and two free throws, one of which he got, in the final minute and 48 seconds.
The home stand ends Sunday, against the Suns; there’s a back-to-back on the road, Tuesday at Charlotte and Wednesday at New York, before the Nuggets drop in for a rare Saturday-night game at the Just Try To Drive Here Arena.