You can’t get a whole lot closer than this. With Oklahoma City down 112-109, Jeff Green drew a foul from Jason Thompson; Green sank the first free throw, bricked the second, got the rebound and made an 8-foot jumper to tie. The Kings had one second left to score, and they didn’t.
So it was overtime, and veteran point guard Bobby Jackson, doing his second tour of duty for Sacramento, took command of matters, rattling off six of the Kings’ ten points in the last five minutes and giving a smallish Arco Arena crowd something to cheer: after eight losses in a row, the Kings edged the Thunder, 122-118.
This game is another example of the reserves stepping up: Beno Udrih was out, and rookie Bobby Brown ran the point, yielding to Jackson later. Center Brad Miller also was sitting, giving Spencer Hawes the opportunity to start. Meanwhile, sharpshooter Kevin Martin racked up 37 points, and John Salmons scored a double-double: 19 points, 10 rebounds. Weirdly, two Kings fouled out: Thompson and swingman Francisco Garcia.
With that many Sacramento fouls, you’d expect the Thunder to be at the line a lot, and they were: Russell Westbrook got 20 of 22 all by himself, the team finishing with 33 of 39. Kevin Durant hit his first nine shots before cooling off a bit, still getting 33 for the day’s work, behind Westbrook (34) and ahead of Green (28). Green also had 13 rebounds for one of two Thunder double-doubles; Nick Collison got the other (10 points, 15 boards).
Two issues for OKC: turnovers (again!), and scant contribution from the bench, which managed only 11 points and 12 rebounds. But this was a close one all around, with 15 ties, and in the end, the Kings proved just a little bit hungrier, or something.
Three games coming at the Ford, and none of them will be easy: Nuggets on Wednesday, Blazers on Friday, and most of these same Kings on Sunday.