Said Royce Young at halftime: “Hard to believe it was 31-14 Thunder eight minutes in to this one.” And at halftime, it was Kings 68, Thunder 66. It’s almost painful to do the math: Sacramento rolled up 54 points in 16 minutes. This isn’t the most unheard-of thing you ever heard of: they wore out the Phoenix Suns Saturday to the tune of 142-119, and they did it in 48 minutes. But this is where it gets scary: the Kings had scored only 59 points in the first half of that game, meaning they rang up 83 in the second.
This wasn’t going to happen tonight: both offenses were bogged down in the third quarter. The Kings, however, recovered more quickly, and while they managed only 22 points in that frame, Oklahoma City was held to a pitiful 16. In the fourth, desperation — what else could it be? — led Billy Donovan to try to hack Rajon Rondo, a relatively crummy foul shooter. But in every other aspect, Rondo outplayed Russell Westbrook, who had One Of Those Nights: 17 points, 15 assists, and a woeful 6-23 from the floor. And the Kings, who had never, ever won in OKC, finally nailed down a W, 116-104.
The absence of Kevin Durant (sprained big toe) was keenly felt: both Serge Ibaka (25 points) and Anthony Morrow (20) logged season highs, and Ibaka blocked five shots, but the Kings still had their way. Part of this was Rondo’s doing: okay, he was 3-8 from the stripe, but 13 points and 19 assists should tell you who was making things happen. And where Rondo wasn’t, DeMarcus Cousins was: 33 points, 19 rebounds. Blame the zebras? I don’t think so, even though OKC was 16-23 on free throws, Sacramento 29-39. There’s 13 points right there.
The Grizzlies are coming to town late (8:30) Wednesday. Will KD be back? If not, how bad can things get?