After last night’s simulation of the Bataan Death March, won by the Thunder in double overtime, I wondered if, as Prince once said, “have you got enough gas?” OKC trailed most of the game, and didn’t climb back into contention until late in the fourth. Just inside the 30-second mark, Terrance Ferguson reached in on De’Andre Fox; Fox connected on both free throws, and the Kings went up by two. Russell Westbrook tossed up a bucket, but it was negated by a charge call; with 11 seconds left, Sacramento got the ball back, and eventually Harrison Barnes drew a foul; Barnes knocked down one of two, and the Thunder had 4.2 seconds to find three points. Those points failed to materialize, and for the third time in four tries, the Kings march away with a win, 119-116.
There was a time when Buddy Hield looked like he was going to improve on his 37-point career high, recorded in a previous Thunder game. He didn’t quite make it, but 34 was quite enough, and both Foc and Marvin Bagley III posted 19s, Bagley adding ten boards. In the middle, Willie Cawley-Stein collected another double-double, 10 points and 11 rebounds.
For OKC, Westbrook carried much of the load, 41-10-4. Paul George, who’d worked wonders last night, dropped back into the realm of the mundane, with a 14-13 double-double. Markieff Morris, playing his second game for OKC, showed up with 10 points and eight rebounds, a line not unlike Steven Adams’s 11-9. Dennis Schröder shot better than last night, scoring 14. What the Thunder did not do well was shoot: 38 percent, versus 46. Oh, and there were 44 attempts to bang home three-pointers; 14 went. (The Kings only made seven, but then they tried only 19.)
Things don’t get any easier. The Nuggets are second only to the Warriors in the West, they’ve beaten the Thunder twice this year, and they meet again on Tuesday in Denver.