If there’s a lesson to be learned from this year’s Sacramento Kings, it’s this: cheaper equals better. Isaiah Thomas, arguably the league’s best-buy point guard — averaging 19 points a game and earning under $900k a year — knocked down a torrid 27 points in the first half tonight and finished with a career-high 38. Comparatively pricey forward Rudy Gay, unnerved by being held to six points, was T’d up for protesting a call, got louder, and was propelled from the premises. By this time, though, the Thunder, who trailed the Kings 30-28 after the first quarter, had run out to a double-digit lead, and Sacramento’s failure to score for more than four minutes at the beginning of the fourth quarter basically sealed their doom. They did whittle a 24-point deficit down to 13, trying everything including Hack-a-Perk. (They fouled Kendrick Perkins thrice, and Perk made three of the four six throws.) Still, the Thunder prevailed, 108-93.
Four of the five Thunder starters collected double figures, led by Kevin Durant (of course) with 30; Perk, the odd man out, still made seven. Two of the reserves — Jeremy Lamb and Nick Collison — rolled up ten points. And this was Serge Ibaka’s third game in a row over 20.
DeMarcus Cousins, surly as ever, got one of two Sacramento double-doubles, with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Jason Thompson (11 points, 10 boards) got the other. But Thomas was just incredible to behold and for the most part impossible to defend. And welcome back, newly-recovered Carl Landry, who scored six points in nine minutes.
There are still some lingering Thunder issues: Steven Adams fouled out for the third game in a row, though he made it through 17 minutes this time instead of 10 or 11, and Reggie Jackson is still having occasional flashes of “What do I do now?” How this will work out against the likes of the Trail Blazers, we’ll know on Tuesday.