Regular Season Recap: Thunder at Kings

THUNDER 101

KINGS 106
4 Offensive rebounds by Russell Westbrook tonight, part of a six rebound effort

4 Number of players with 3 assists for the Thunder (Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, James Harden and Nick Collison)

7 Number of players who blocked a shot for the Thunder

10 Serge Ibaka's blocked shots, which tied his career high and a Power Balance Arena record

17 Total blocks by the Thunder, a Thunder record for blocks

27 Points scored by Kevin Durant, who also had eight rebounds

33 Points scored by Russell Westbrook, on 15-of-26 shooting

48.1 Shooting percentage by the Thunder tonight

The Thunder will finish its road trip on Friday when it plays the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City. Game time is 9:30 p.m. Central and will air live on Fox Sports Oklahoma and the Thunder Radio Network.

The Thunder then returns home for a few days of rest after it's five straight road games before it hosts the Jazz on Tuesday. The Thunder then goes to Houston on Wednesday night before returning to Chesapeake Energy Arena to host the Golden State Warriors on Friday.

GAME IN REVIEW


RECAP:
After winning two nail-biting road contests in Portland and Golden State earlier this week, the Thunder found itself in another dogfight in front of a raucous West Coast crowd, this time in Sacramento. Unlike Monday and Tuesday night, however, the Thunder just didn't have enough to close the game out and get the victory, ultimately falling by the score of 106-101.

"We didn't do a good job of taking care of the basketball," Brooks said. "When we have tough losses, we figure out how we can get better with film... We know we have to keep getting better. We know we have to keep improving. We're a pretty good defensive team, but we always have to block out and get the rebound."

Throughout the game no team led by double digits, but both teams enjoyed multiple possession leads that took significant runs to overcome. The Thunder largely controlled the second half, leading for the majority of the final 24 minutes, and even broke open its largest lead of the night with under six minutes remaining in the contest. The Kings team, however, was fueled by a playoff-like atmosphere that featured Mayor Kevin Johnson sitting courtside as well as former King Chris Webber providing color analysis on the nationally-televised broadcast. It was an important lesson for a Thunder squad that is viewed differently by its opponents, who see home games against the Thunder as marquee matchups.

"It's a learning experience every time you play a game," Harden said. "Sometimes we make mistakes and still win the game, and sometimes we make mistakes and we lose the game. Tonight that's what happened. When you turn the ball over you are bound to let the other team capitalize on your mistakes."

Thunder players explained after the game that they hope and search for more consistency moving forward, particularly in the execution on the offensive end, curtailing the number of turnovers it gives up and also doing a better job of locking down on the perimeter. Tonight the Kings were aggressive and attacked the basket, meaning that Nick Collison (three charges drawn) and Serge Ibaka (a career-high tying 10 blocks) were busy men all evening. Ibaka seemed to swat everything in sight, using both his athletic instincts and proper defensive rotations to make plays. Ibaka's effort was part of a Thunder-high 17 blocks on the night, and it was his staunch play at the rim that forced the Kings to shoot 40% from the field.

"I just tried to play hard, and that's it," Ibaka said. "I tried to be there because they're an aggressive team. For a shot blocker like me, I like to play against aggressive teams too."

TURNING POINT:
It was an emotional, back-and-forth contest throughout the night, and a game that featured 13 ties and 14 lead changes. With 5:56 remaining in the fourth quarter, Daequan Cook hit a 3-pointer off a nice Kevin Durant kick-out that put the Thunder up eight points at 95-87. Over the next three minutes the Thunder missed five consecutive shots and turned the ball over twice, as the Kings rallied back with a 10-2 run to tie the game at 97 with 2:07 remaining in the game. A minute later and the Kings took the lead for good on two free throws by Donte Greene to make it 100-99, which was the first time they led since less than a minute into the fourth quarter.

PLAYS THE BOXSCORE WON’T SHOW, FIRST HALF:
Nice steal in the lane by Kendrick Perkins to stop a potential layup... Good hustle by Serge Ibaka to get back to grab a fast-break rebound, then a heads up play by Kevin Durant to steal a transition pass... Great helpside defense by Russell Westbrook and Ibaka to block a DeMarcus Cousins attempt... Then Ibaka gets to the rim and blocks another shot... Nice vision by Westbrook to find a cutting Ibaka to draw a foul... Well-executed alley-oop from Westbrook to Durant... Wonderful job by Durant to go opposite of the screen, drive and dish to Perkins... Strong defensive rebound by Durant then toughness as he went up in the lane... Quick hands from Harden to make a steal then go the length of the court for a dunk. Then a nice 3-man game to draw a foul on the fast break... Collison recovering and getting great position to draw Cousins' third foul in the first quarter on a charge... Solid defense and blocking out by Collison to grab a defensive rebound... Quick hands by Collison to knock the ball away on a would-be dunk... Good hustle by Collison to get an offensive rebound and give Daequan Cook a chance to knock down a 3-pointer... Patented Euro-step move by Harden to get to the basket... The classic two-man game between Collison and Harden to draw a shooting foul... Big leap from harden to grab a defensive rebound... Perfect pick by Collison as Harden rose and fired the two-point jumper... Nice transition dish from Jackson to Cook for a 3-pointer... Three offensive rebounds on one possession for the Thunder, which results in a Westbrook layup... Westbrook follows up his own missed free throw with another offensive rebound and a lay-up... Good job to stick with the play by Westbrook to hustle and grab a loose ball... Nice pick-and-pop between Durant and Westbrook... An emphatic drunk by Westbrook on a drive down the lane... Big 3-pointer by Westbrook towards the end of the half... Huge shot by Cook with a 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer.

PLAYS THE BOXSCORE WON’T SHOW, SECOND HALF:
Nice job of rising up by Durant to block a jump shot attempt, then Westbrook follows it up with a pull-up jumper... Beautiful helpside rotation by Ibaka to block his fourth shot of the game... Nice job by Ibaka to alter another shot, then good positioning by Cook to grab an offensive rebound to give Westbrook another jumper... Tough defense by Cook, Perkins and Ibaka to stop a drive and get a defensive rebound... Nice box out by Collison to tip the defensive rebound to Ibaka, who finishes with a runner on the other end... Much needed pull-up jumper by Westbrook to stop a Kings run, then gets a hand in Tyreke Evans' face to force an air ball... Scintillating, hanging drive and floater by Westbrook, then great fight on the boards by Ibaka and Collison to grab a defensive rebound... Next time down Collison draws a fast-break charge... Beautiful back-cut by Westbrook and Collsion with the heads up play to find him on the baseline... Collison drawing his third charge of the game... Another help-side block from Ibaka that leads to a Westbrook run-out... Good straight-up position by Nazr Mohammed to block a Cousins shot... Nice defense by Harden and Cook on back-to-back possessions to stop a Kings run... Strong defensive rebound by Durant after knocking down a 3-pointer... Slick hesitation drive and lay-in for Jackson... Splash. Big-time 3-pointer from Durant... Good hedging off screens by Durant to stop potential Kings drives... Nice ball rotation as Durant shook his man and found Cook for a 3-pointer... Nice rotation by Westbrook to steal an errant lob pass into the post... Strong defensive rebound for Durant to get control of the ball... Big time jumpers from Durant and Westbrook as the game went back and forth in the final stretches.