So far, the Thunder have played an elite team, a middling squad, and a cellar-dweller; they’ve lost to all three. The part that hurts most, most likely, is dropping that third game in front of Loud City (population 18,203); this club has never started a season 0-3 since those halcyon days in the Pacific Northwest. And this was only the Kings’ second win in OKC since, well, ever. But they earned it; at pretty much every point in the game, they were outexecuting the Thunder. All five Sacramento starters scored in double figures, as did two of their reserves; they shot nearly 55 percent, and knocked down 10 of 22 treys. (The Thunder attempted a whopping 39 three-pointers, but only nine of them actually cleared the net.) Iman Shumpert’s 26 points was only one short of his career high; De’Aaron Fox picked up 20 and 10 assists. You look at these numbers and you start to wonder how it is the Kings only won by eleven, 131-120.
Westbrook? He was back. And he was playing up to his standard: 32 points, 12 rebounds; eight assists. It didn’t matter. Paul George knocked down 29, and might have done more had he not gotten his fifth foul in the third quarter. (Nerlens Noel then got his sixth and his walking papers.) Dennis Schröder went scoreless in the first half, but came back to finish with 14, though it took him 16 shots to get them. And if the Thunder were terrible shooting for three points, they weren’t appreciably better shooting for one; they made only 19 of 30 free throws, while the Kings were connecting on 21 of 28.
Oh, well. Nothing else can happen between now and Thursday, when the Celtics come to town. Maybe. We still don’t know what happened to Alex Abrines, who disappeared after five minutes. Then again, he was +5 for the night, better than all his teammates.