For about twelve minutes, the Thunder looked utterly stunned: the Kings, despite the absence of both DeMarcus Cousins and Carl Landry, pounded OKC into the wood in the first quarter, 31-19. Jet lag? Who knows? We do know this: the Thunder put together a 31-16 second quarter to go three up at the half, and scored 14 straight at the end of the third to make the lead 13, plus the first four points in the fourth. The Kings, clearly not done, ran off the next 13. Scott Brooks, hoping to rest the starters for Portland tomorrow, found himself having to reinsert them, and OKC escaped with a 97-95 win.
Chuck Hayes, perhaps the shortest center in the league (6’6″), was happy to pick up nine rebounds, though he was the only King starter to miss double figures. Then again, none of the King starters were quite as fearsome as reserve point guard Isaiah Thomas, who got 21 of his 24 points in that fourth quarter. Jason Thompson posted the only Sacramento double-double: 10 points, 10 boards. And you have to figure that Brooks, on the plane if not before, is going to want to know how the Kings got off to a 14-2 lead before the first five minutes were up.
Kevin Durant, as usual, led the OKC attack, though it took him 39 minutes to roll up 27 points and 11 boards. Russell Westbrook was the playmaker rather than the scorer tonight: 17 points, seven assists, and, um, seven turnovers. (The Kings, all ten of them, coughed it up only eight times.) Royce Young over at Daily Thunder has been making a little game out of “Reggie Lamb,” as though Jackson and Jeremy were joined at the hip, but it actually makes a fair amount of sense, since they’re so often on the floor at the same time. For the record, Reggie Lamb picked up 27 points. (Split ‘em down the middle, give the odd one to Jeremy.)
And there’s still the question of how, if you can let the Kings beat you 14-2 in five minutes, you’re going to deal with the seriously-hot (15-3, tied with the Spurs at the top of the West) Trail Blazers in twenty-one hours or so. I guess we’ll find that out when it happens.