Kings Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Sacramento Kings and the NBA.

April 20, 2012
In-game blog: Kings vs. Thunder

Head coach Keith Smart addresses the media following the Kings' loss to the Thunder at Power Balance Pavilion.

Thunder 103, Kings 92

The Thunder continue their march to the playoffs. The Kings fall into a tie with the New Orleans Hornets for the worst record (20-43) in the Western Conference.

Oklahoma City shot 53.3 percent from the field and scored 20 points off of 12 Kings turnovers to defeat the Kings for the second time in a week.

"I was happy with the way they competed, the way they played," Kings head coach Keith Smart said of his team. "They made those guys work for some of the things they got tonight.

"Obviously we made some defensive breakdowns at the wrong time of the game. But we're going to get better, we're going to get better."

The Kings trailed by just three points early in the third quarter, 67-64, following a three-pointer from guard Isaiah Thomas. But the Thunder went on a 12-2 run and led by at least eight points the rest of the way.

"We've got to be a better defensive team," said the Kings' Tyreke Evans. "The good teams, they play defense. We all know we can score on this team. We've just got to talk more on defense to help each other."

The Kings had a tepid shooting night, finishing 40.9 percent from the field and 61.1 percent (11-of-18) from the free-throw line.

Kevin Durant led the Thunder with 29 points and added 14 rebounds and seven assists, falling just short of a triple-double on a night when Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson -- the only NBA player to average a triple-double over an entire season -- was in the building.

James Harden had 20 points off the bench for the Thunder, while Serge Ibaka added 12 points and eight blocks. In three games against the Kings this season, Ibaka has 25 blocks.

DeMarcus Cousins had a team-high 18 points and nine rebounds for the Kings.

Tyreke Evans finished with 16 points on 7-of-12 shooting after being held to just two points in a loss to the Thunder last Friday.

"(It was) just confidence in the shots," Evans said. "In warm-ups I was just thinking the mid-range game was going to have to be big for me and I was just looking for it this game."

The Kings forced 17 turnovers, converting them into 14 points. They were out-scored on the fast-break, 27-12, and fell to 1-11 in games without guard Marcus Thornton. Their leading scorer sat out the game with a left quad contusion.

"I give Coach (Keith) Smart tons of credit," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "He has this team playing hard. We had to play well to beat them.

"They have good offensive players on that team. They are a fast team, they move the ball and Cousins is a load down low. I thought we did a good job of making them miss some shots and our distribution was very good tonight."

Thunder 81, Kings 70

The Thunder came into tonight's game undefeated this season when shooting 50 percent or better, and right now they're at 56 percent.

The Kings, meanwhile, are still shooting a tepid 38 percent from the field.

Their percentage hasn't been helped by having 10 shots blocked. Serge Ibaka already has seven blocks for the Thunder, giving him 24 in three games this season against the Kings.

Thunder forward Kevin Durant leads all scorers with 22 points and, with Oscar Robertson in the house, is within striking distance of a triple-double with 11 rebounds and seven assists.

DeMarcus Cousins has 14 points and six rebounds, while Jason Thompson has 13 points and eight rebounds and Tyreke Evans has added 14 points.

Thunder 57, Kings 49

The Kings are still shooting poorly (38.9 percent) and have aided Oklahoma City with seven turnovers that have led to 14 points for the Thunder.

The Kings aren't happy with the officiating. DeMarcus Cousins hasn't attempted a free throw even though he's attempted a few shots in the paint against contact.

Cousins is shooting 3-for-14 for six points.

Jason Thompson leads the Kings with 10 points and six rebounds. Isaiah Thomas has nine points and three rebounds and Tyreke Evans has eight points.

Kevin Durant leads the Thunder with 14 points, five rebounds and five assists. Russell Westbrook has 12 points and James Harden has 11 points off the bench.

Thunder 32, Kings 25

The game started out great for the Kings.

Sacramento led 17-10 and made five of their first six shots.

The Kings then went on to shoot 5-for-20 the rest of the quarter and were outscored 22-8.

Serge Ibaka only has one blocked shot but the NBA's leading shot blocker is having an impact by altering shots.

Isaiah Thomas leads the Kings with nine points and three assists. Tyreke Evans has six points and two assists.

DeMarcus Cousins is 2-of-9 for four points.

Kevin Durant has 10 points and three assists to lead the Thunder.

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