Kenrich Williams
(Zach Beeker | OKC Thunder)

Recap: Thunder vs. Kings

The Reporter's Notebook

By Paris Lawson | Broadcast and Digital Reporter |

Highlights: OKC vs. SAC

The Big Picture

Box Score: OKC vs. SAC

OKC faced a deficit of as many as 17 points in the second half against Sacramento’s number one offense in the league. It was a near carbon-copy scenario that the Thunder found itself in just 48 hours earlier against the very same team – rallying back from a large deficit to make it a one-possession game in the fourth quarter.

A healthy dose of scrap and energy gave the Thunder the lift it needed to chip away at the lead and tie the game on two separate occasions in the early minutes of the fourth quarter. However, similar to the previous meeting on Sunday, the Kings’ offensive potency fired back to regain the lead and control of the game to take the win 123-117. 

The Thunder’s second unit took center stage in Tuesday’s meeting with 62 points and four players in double figures. Newcomer Dario Šarić led the second unit with a season-high 21 points to go along with 8 rebounds. Jalen Williams led the thunder in scoring with 27 points on 9-of-16 shooting from the field. 

First Quarter

Jaylin Williams and Josh Giddey connected on a pair of pick-and-roll plays that resulted in buckets for the rookie. One of the biggest areas of development for Williams, who stepped into his 16th start of the season, has been learning how and where to roll or pop out of ball screens to find the open gaps in the coverage. Williams has the versatility to do both and he showed in the early going that he’s taken strides forward in that area. 

The Thunder is still in the discovery stages with newcomer Dario Šarić who is in just his fifth game with OKC. In the first quarter against the Kings, the Thunder uncovered the physicality that Šarić can play with offensively. The sixth year forward racked up two strong and-one opportunities and made an immediate impact for the Thunder in his six minutes of first quarter action. Šarić scored a team-high eight points and pulled down four rebounds while shooting 2-of-2 from the field and a perfect 4-of-4 from the free throw line in the first frame. By the end of the night Dario finished with a season high 21 points.

Second Quarter

Josh Giddey received the ball on an inbounds pass and with just a quick glance, he rifled the ball across the court to a cutting Aaron Wiggins on the opposite wing. Wiggins caught the ball on the move and immediately elevated for a smooth reverse layup on the right side of the rim. Giddey’s flashy passes were on display in the second frame as the second-year guard played alongside OKC’s elite cutters like Wiggins and Kenrich Williams who were constantly moving without the ball. By the end of the night, Giddey finished with a well-rounded eight points, five assists and six rebounds.

Third Quarter

The Thunder searched for a spark in the third quarter as the Kings erupted on a 13-0 run to take a lead of as many as 17 points. OKC’s second unit provided that spark with the services of Tre Mann, Dario Šarić and Kenrich Williams who answered with a 12-4 run of its own. The group scrapped for defensive stops in their 1-2-2 zone which allowed OKC to stop the bleeding even though its offense hadn’t found its stride with just 21 points in the third frame. The effort was punctuated with a charge drawn by the NBA league leader in charges this season, Kenrich Williams, that led to a corner 3 by Isaiah Joe on the other end of the floor. The play sent the Thunder into the fourth quarter on a 15-4 run and trailing by just six points. 

Fourth Quarter

Jalen Williams attacked the lane, and reached his 7-foot-2 wingspan wide to finish a reverse layup while taking on contact. The play resulted in an and-one opportunity for the rookie who sank the free throw and tied the game at 98 with just under nine minutes left in the frame. It was the fourth and one opportunity of the game for the Thunder who opened the fourth frame on an 8-3 run and tied the game on two separate occasions thanks to the physicality the group played with on both ends of the floor. 


“Credit our guys for the resilience to come back in the game. When you're down by 17, things aren't really going our way. It's easy to not do that and I thought our fight tonight to get back in the game, we gave ourselves a chance.” –Coach Daigneault

“I feel great out there. We play with young guys, they share the ball, we just play hard and I kind of adjust on that. Of course, I don't know, every play we run but, I can feel the energy with the guys here. They play hard.” –Dario Šarić

What's Next

Tuesday’s game was the front end of a back-to-back for the Thunder who will return to Paycom Center Wednesday evening to host the Los Angeles Lakers. The next matchup takes place on Friday against the Utah Jazz.

Tuesday's Photos

By Zach Beeker | OKC Thunder